From Congress-woman to AAP’s iron woman? Former Congress mahila chief Adv Pratima Coutinho, she has been promised an assembly ticket in the Goa assembly elections next year.
IT’S not just Congress Mahila Wing president Pratima Coutinho who quit the Congress when she lost at Navelim in the recent zilla panchayat elections in Navelim by 373 votes to independent candidate Edwin (Cipru) Cardozo. Being a grassroots member in the grand old Congress, she was incensed and blamed former chief minister and Navelim Congress MLA Luizinho Faleiro, as well as Congress president Girish Chodankar for her defeat. So she quit to join the Aam Aadmi party which welcomed her warmly!
The former Congresswoman had earlier expressly said she was not interested in contesting in the ZP elections, but wanted a ticket for the assembly elections next year. Yet she was bullied into campaigning the Navelim seat in the ZP elections so that she would lose! Rightly or wrongly the rumor vine has it that AAP is constantly on the look for fresh new faces to field in the run-up to the assembly elections in 2022. According to AAP spokespersons the party has no problems welcoming Congress stalwarts and in Pratima’s case she has been promised an AAP ticket ahead of the assembly elections.
Pratima had made a name for herself for being an active Congress woman having agitated for many a public causes. It will take some time for Goans to associate her with AAP; along with her several other fellow Congress women too have quit to join AAP. Others joining AAP include Mrs Bharati Heble (ex-corporator, retired government school teacher, daughter of famous poet-freedom fighter, the late Bakibab Borkar); Shubham Shivolkar and his team from Valpoi; several local leaders from the SC community in Quepem; Selwyn Godinho, (26, mechanical engineer, youth leader), Damodar Vaigankar (social worker, taxi owner from Mala), Milagres R Gonsalves (three times sarpanch for Guirdolim panchayat ) and more are contemplating about life with the AAP. Interestingly, Manohar Parrikar’s trusted aide Vishwajeet Parab has joined AAP.
Not surprisingly the party has been growing its base across the state and is now in search of a chief ministerial face to project ahead of the assembly elections. To warm the cockles of Goan hearts AAP boss Arvind Kejriwal recently announced a Rs5 crore donation for the Konkani Academy in Delhi! Clearly the party believes in change as it learns from its errors of judgment and is now projecting a popular message of “Goa for Goans.” It’s the right sentiment to touch many a Goan’s heart which in recent years has been aggrieved by development of an undesirable kind for green Goa or so many Goans think.
AAP also has money to spend for a good cause and many disenchanted Goans are mesmerized by the party’s achievements as seen in the changing face of Delhi. The so called “Arvind Kejriwal’s model of development” along with intolerance for corruption or bribe money is also attracting the educated across class hierarchies. The message going out loud and clear is no corruption, no communalism, no criminals. Muslim Congressmen are ditching the Congress for AAP!
It’s early days but the ferment is increasing in Goa’s changing politics with political parties seeking rejuvenation and new, more attractive faces. Minority chairperson Urfan Mulla has quit the Congress to join the BJP, while the Congress has welcomed Rajesh Verenkar, son of former MLA Shivdas Verenkar, from Ponda. Both the Congress and BJP have active websites seeking fresh comers in politics.
So it goes. Increasingly the perception is growing that the Aam Aadmi party is by and large made up of educated representatives and keen on staying clean with its evocative logo of the broom. If out of power it banks on honest politics from the bottoms up, promising free or cheaper water, electricity, healthcare, etc, most citizens conscious of the power of their votes are tempted to think that the quality of politics will undergo a sweeping change once AAP is in power!