Break­ing the mould: the new faces shak­ing up things this elec­tion

India Today - - UP FRONT - By Ki­ran D. Tare

GPANAJI floated by Sarde­sai, won elec­tions to the 25-mem­ber Mar­gao Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil. “Goa will vote to drive the BJP out of the state,” he de­clares.

From a two-storey house in a lane close to Panaji’s Ma­ha­laxmi tem­ple, where ev­ery BJP chief min­is­ter seeks bless­ings after as­sum­ing of­fice, another man is strate­gis­ing to de­throne the party: Sub­hash Vel­ingkar. The 67-year-old for­mer chief of the RSS in Goa launched a po­lit­i­cal party to open a new front against the BJP for its flip-flops on grants to English-medium oa’s Congress vet­er­ans, Prat­apsinh Rane and Digam­bar Ka­mat, had rushed to Delhi on Jan­uary 5 to con­vince party chief So­nia Gandhi to en­ter into an al­liance with the newly formed Goa For­ward Party (GFP), say­ing it had to be done if the party wished to save face in the as­sem­bly elec­tions on Fe­bru­ary 4. For in GFP leader Vi­jai Sarde­sai, Rane and Ka­mat saw some­one who could play spoil­sport for their party in at least four south Goa seats.

Sarde­sai isn’t the only one to watch out for this Goa elec­tion. Goa Su­rak­sha Manch (GSM) pa­tri­arch Sub­hash Vel­ingkar, BJP MLA Michael Lobo and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief min­is­te­rial can­di­date Elvis Gomes are the three other lead­ers that ev­ery­one’s keep­ing an eye on.

A first-time in­de­pen­dent MLA from Fa­torda in 2012, Sarde­sai, 46, has to­day grown into a force to be reck­oned with. He snatched the ini­tia­tive from the op­po­si­tion Congress by team­ing up with in­de­pen­dent MLAs Ro­han Khaunte and Naresh Saval and cor­ner­ing the BJP gov­ern­ment on is­sues such as law and or­der and min­ing. In Oc­to­ber 2015, 11 of the 12 can­di­dates of Fa­torda For­ward, a group


(Clock­wise from left), Michael Lobo, Elvis Gomes, Vi­jai Sarde­sai and Sub­hash Vel­ingkar

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