Tuesday 18 Jun 2024

Salcete no longer Cong bastion, affirms Aleixo

Says BJP has already established its vote share

THE GOAN NETWORK | NOVEMBER 20, 2023, 11:25 PM IST

PANAJI

Newly sworn-in Minister Aleixo Sequeira, a five-time MLA, whose induction into BJP-led cabinet, is looked upon as a major move to bolster the saffron party’s chances of wrestling the Salcete tauka ahead of Lok Sabha polls, feels that “Salcete is no more a Congress bastion and that BJP has already established its vote share”.

Sequeira said that the BJP is in a comfortable position to win the South Goa constituency seat for the upcoming Parliamentary polls, due early next year.

“Tell me how many Congress candidates won from Salcete in the 2022 elections? You cannot call Salcete a Congress bastion anymore. Yes Congress does have votes and so does BJP. Parties like Aam Aadmi Party have also entered Salcete by winning Velim and Benaulim. So why does everyone assume that Salcete is of Congress,” the Nuvem MLA questioned.

Sequeira, a Congress turncoat, further adds “Congress does have votes in Salcete but not that old overwhelming voter base that the party used to rely upon all these years”.

“BJP is in a comfortable position in South Goa and they will win both the seats -- North and South, and strengthen Narendra Modi’s hands in 2024,” he added.

Sequeira lost the 2012 election on Congress ticket and party denied him ticket in 2017 election, which he claimed was promoted by Church’s stand which opposed his candidature. He, however, contested and won the 2022 polls, only to switch sides to BJP in September, in the very same year.

Speaking on garnering church support to the BJP for LS polls, Sequeira maintains that he is not very close to the Church, as being assumed by political experts. “I can’t take the church for granted but I will try to soften their stand towards the saffron party. On the issue of education, there are some differences between the government and church, which I will try to help to resolve,” he added.

When questioned, how difficult it would be to win on BJP ticket in a Catholic dominated Nuvem constituency in 2027, Sequeira pointed out that there are many Catholic MLAs who have won from Catholic constituency on BJP ticket or as BJP supported candidates.

“I don’t see any reason not to get elected on a BJP ticket in future. I will prove everyone wrong by winning (on BJP) ticket in future... i will work to strengthen the party there and myself,” he said.

Sequeira has denied that BJP had given him any commitment (of cabinet berth). “I am not aware of any such promise made to other MLAs like Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo, who were in talks with BJP for the merger that happened. I was assured by Kamat and Lobo that my interest would be taken care of while the CM promised development in my constituency,” he stated.

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