INDI Alliance leaders raise BJP bogey as campaign for Benaulim ZP by-poll ends

Say saffron party trying to gain backdoor entry through proxy candidates

THE GOAN NETWORK | JUNE 22, 2024, 12:41 AM IST

The BJP ghost has come to haunt the political players in the fray for the by-poll for the Benaulim Zilla Panchayat seat even as curtains came down on the hectic campaign for the June 23 election.

With just a day to go for the polling on Sunday, the Aam Aadmi Party used the most lethal weapon from its armoury against the Independent challengers by raising the bogey of BJP trying to gain backdoor entry through proxy candidates.

AAP chief Amit Palekar led the attack against the Independents by cautioning Benaulikars not to fall prey to the BJP machinations, but defeat their design of making entry through proxies.

AAP’s BJP card evoked support from the INDIA bloc. Newly-elected South Goa MP Captain Viriato Fernandes, who had stayed away from the Benaulim by-poll in support of the Alliance candidate Joseph Pimenta, issued a message via a video, warning the people of Benaulim of the BJP plan to enter the constituency through the back door.

As campaign drew to an end on Friday evening, AAP chief Amit Palekar urged the people to vote and elect not only Joseph Pimenta, but the secular forces. “There is a clear attempt by the BJP to defeat the INDI Alliance. The BJP has hatched a conspiracy to make a comeback in Benaulim after the Lok Sabha defeat through a proxy to defeat the Alliance. We appeal to Benaulikars to not to fall prey, but defeat the designs of the BJP by voting for Joseph Pimenta and save democracy and secularism of the country,” he told the media.

AAP Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas said the people of Benaulim have a chance to create history in the country by unitedly voting for INDI Alliance candidate Joseph that the people fully back the continuance of the INDI Alliance experiment. He said that Joseph Pimenta’s election will further strengthen him to work with renewed vigour to take Benaulim forward on the development front.

Capt Viriato comes to AAP’s aid, seeks votes in favour of Alliance candidate 

MARGAO: Newly-elected Congress MP Captain Viriato Fernandes has come to the rescue of beleaguered Aam Aadmi Party engaged in a tough battle for the Benaulim ZP by-poll on Friday when he issued a statement via a video to vote and elect INDI Alliance candidate Joseph Pimenta in Sunday’s election.

Captain’s video, which went viral on Friday, said that the BJP is trying to gain entry through the backdoor after the defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. His video assumes significance and comes against the backdrop of the fact that the newly-elected South Goa MP had stayed away from the campaign for the Benaulim by-poll despite moves in certain quarters to hit the campaign for the AAP candidate.

“Many people had contacted me asking my stand in the Benaulim by-poll. But, everyone had agreed that it is a local election and that the people of Benaulim should decide on the candidate,” he said.

Viriato, however, hastened to add that he has decided to make an appeal to vote for Joseph Pimenta after realisation dawned that the BJP has been making determined attempt to make entry through the back door. “When the proof finally came, we decided that we cannot sit quite when the BJP has propped up leaders and were ready for a relaunch of leaders rejected in the last election,” he said, while making an appeal to the voters of Benaulim to vote and elect INDI Alliance candidate on Sunday.

Independent candidate Grrayfans rebuts Viriato’s statement

MARGAO: Newly-elected South Goa MP Captain Viriato’s statement that the BJP is trying to gain backdoor entry into Benaulim came in for severe criticism from Independent candidate Grrayfans Fernandes and his group of supporters.
Moments before the campaign ended on Friday, Grrayfans reminded Captain Viriato in the presence of Benaulim Sarpanch Xavier Pereira and former Benaulim ZP member Maria Rebello that he had worked hard for his success in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls. “My entire family right from the time of my grandfather and grandmother had been staunch supporters. Even on the Lok Sabha polling day, I had got the youth out to cast their vote. I do not know the basis on which Captain said that the BJP is out to gain backdoor entry,” he said.
Saying that the people of Benaulim are wise and will take the right decision, Grrayfans exuded confidence that people will not fall prey to the diversionary tactics of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Benaulim panch member Manoj Kesarkar wondered whether Captain Viriato is taking the people for granted by raising the BJP ghost in the ZP poll. Saying that the Captain is now the face of South Goa, Kesarkar demanded to know whether the newly elected MP is promoting AAP instead of strengthening the Congress.
Benaulim Sarpanch Xavier Pereira said the MP should find out from the Benaulim block members whether AAP had supported him in the LS polls. 
“They were not even ready to appoint polling agents. They were making fun whether the Congress can win the LS polls and whether people will come for the meeting at Dando grounds. It is an irony that today, they are labelling us with BJP stamp,” Xavier said.

South Goa MP may have been pressurised by Alliance partners, says Royla

MARGAO: Congress-turned-Independent candidate Royla Fernandes has said it is evident that newly-elected MP Captain Viriato Fernandes must have been pressurised by the INDI Alliance to issue a statement of the backdoor entry of BJP in the Benaulim ZP by-poll. “Captain has been a dear friend. I respect him. He is one person who will never come out in support of the INDI Alliance contesting the ZP by-poll. For, he is an advocate of local grassroot level democracy,” she said.
Royla pointed out that people of Benaulim as a whole and not one MLA had voted and elected Captain Viriato to the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, after receiving support from Warren Alemao for her candidature, Royla on Friday got the backing of former Benaulim MLA Caitu Silva. Silva told the media that he has extended his support to Royla, as he asked his workers and supporters to vote and elect Royla in the ZP by-poll.

Share this