Water tanks may seal the deal for Alemao

In an election where domination of political families has become a prominent issue, with 12 tickets in the Congress-NCP list cornered by immediate relatives of ministers, basic issues like water tanks for the poor could make a difference to Churchill Alemao’s campaign.

Alemao, the PWD minister in the outgoing Congress government, had to stop distributing water tanks abruptly after the opposition BJP complained he had bypassed rules. Known for his street-smart political tactics, the owner of the Churchill Brothers football club seems to have impressed the electorate in his South Goa constituency, Navelim.

Many of them interviewed by local journalists said they were grateful to Alemao for the scheme. A family of eight said an overhead water tank had meant no more utensils and buckets cluttering their small home. Another voter with a dozen family members blamed the BJP for denying them the luxury.

Intriguingly, the BJP-MGP alliance has not fielded any candidate against Churchill Alemao.  Instead, the alliance is supporting an independent candidate, Avertano Furtado, in this constituency. “Their strategy is to split the Catholic vote here,” said Alemao.

In South Goa constituencies, with a large Catholic population, the BJP will be on a back foot for its policy opposing English as the medium of instruction in government aided primary schools. 

Responding to the BJP criticism of family raj in the Congress, Alemao said the MGP, BJP’s ally, was entirely controlled and dominated by the Dhavlikar brothers.

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