You may recall that it was rumored that it was the Vijai, Pratima and Sankalp team two-years ago that rocked Valanka Alemao’s boat the last Goa Pradesh Youth Congress Election in which she was disqualified and Pratima Coutinho became the GPYC President. Post that Vijai and Pratima had to experience their own relationship testing times, when Pratima decided to throw in her hat to contest the Goa Assembly Election from Vijai’s nurtured constituency Fatorda. Till today it is not known what persuaded Pratima to becoming a stumbling block to Vijai, even though she went to town about her compulsion and order coming from the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi himself. And how could she say no to an order from Rahul Gandhi, it would mean ruining her political career. Interestingly or rather funnily neither did Pratima nor Vijai realize the ‘bigger game’ they got caught in. In the end the real colors of their friendship came to the fore. And in the political circles both national and locally Vijai became the laughing stock and Pratima was looked at with caution. Today Vijai, even after being denied the Congress ticket has won independently comfortably and is in a controlling position with friends in both Congress and BJP. Pratima on the other hand does not find favor with many local leaders that matter except for a few near retirement politicians and the Delhi games she has still not understood the games played there.
Nevertheless, Pratima and Sankalp decided to once again deny Valanka Alemao her chance to have some position of stature in the political scheme of things in Goa. You may recall that Valanka Alemao was defeated in the Goa Assembly Elections by a non-entity from a new political party Goa Vikas Party headed by long-time Churchill Alemao rival Mickky Pacheco. Joining the campaign to deny Valanka Alemao the GPYC President was none other than Alexio Reginald Lourenco, though, he personally has no regards for Pratima Coutinho, he stood to oppose Valanka Alemao on matter of principle to keep the reportedly corrupt political family out of Congress as it would hamper the resurgence of the party in the state.
This time too an attempt was made to disqualify Valanka. However, unlike the last time when the Centre in particular Rahul team of Meenakshi Natarajan and Jitendra Singh had a critical role to play in giving a go-ahead to creating a situation to disqualify the Alemao girl, who made it easy because of her suffering from a foot-in-the-mouth disease, this time though matters at a national-level took more precedence over petty state affairs. So the manipulations were left up to the local leaders who had a problem with her. In simple words, the Congress High Command told them to deal with their own problems.
The problem with the RPS team is that they assumed that the people who would support them (senior politicians) actually decided to chose the wisdom of Vijai Sardesai rather than Reginald Lourenco or Sankalp Amonkar. And Vijai’s reasoning was simple what did the previous Youth Leader Pratima Coutinho or her team do for the Congress party before and after the Goa Assembly Elections. Second, he would have convinced the senior Congress leaders in the state and Centre that in order to control Churchill Alemao, it is better to allow his daughter to hold a position in Congress and it is true that position the father could be tamed to toe the Congress line.
RPS team’s only candidate was the former Youth vice-president Xavier Fialo who in his previous tenure oscillated to the side that buttered him the most – if you remember he was propped up the previous time by the Alemaos to defeat Pratima Coutinho. This team failed to make enough members to manipulate the elections. On the other-hand the Alemao camp decided to make Youth Members and build their arsenal.
But the greatest error of the RPS camp was in trusting Xavier Fialo who was already in discussion with the Alemaos and agreed to make-way for Valanka Alemao. In fact I know of a meeting in which Xavier Fialo along with Congressmen from Vasco and Canacona met with Churchill and Valanka to discuss the way forward. The Vasco Congressman even told Churchill Alemao that he had pledged his support to Xavier Fialo and therefore unless Fialo tells him to support Valanka, it would be unethical to do it, to which, Fialo told the Vasco Congressman that he should support Valanka. So if you look at the situation Fialo was never a contender, he was already a part of the Alemao camp. The battle was won before it began.
While the political rivalry of Pratima and Sankalp with Valanka is a known fact. It was surprising that Reginald would join in this Youth tussle, that too, against his former party colleague Churchill Alemao, with whom I am told he shares a cordial relationship. Pratima and Sankalp are too naïve to even attempt to match political wits with the likes of Churchill Alemao and Vijai Sardesai.
The biggest winner in the ‘V-Team’ is not Valanka or Churchill but Vijai. With this one move he has rekindled his friendship with the Alemao camp thereby strengthening his position in South Goa for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election. He has also sent a message to the Central leaders of Congress from Goa Francisco Sardinha and Luizinho Faleiro that their aims to capture the South Goa Lok Sabha seat will not be easy. He has also sent a message to Pratima and Sankalp that their political manipulations are a child’s play to him. He also sent a message to the ruling BJP, that their Lok Sabha campaign might also not be easy, if he is not kept in good humor.