‘Goa will overtake UP, Bihar in poll-related malpractices’

Goa may soon overtake Uttar Pradesh and Bihar when it comes to poll-related malpractices, state Congress president Girish Chodankar said on Thursday, as the coastal state gears up for municipal polls on March 20.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Chodankar also slammed misbehaviour by the supporters of a sitting cabinet minister in the BJP-led coalition government against parish priest Fr. Bolmax Pereira, linked to village panchayat bypolls, which are also being held concurrently.

“At this rate we will over take Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We had heard of these stories from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (related to poll process misdemeanour),” Chodankar said.

“The ruling party workers will take both booth officers and their machines to their homes for voting if this goes on,” the he added.

Chodankar cited two instances related to filing of nominations to Quepem municipality polls and the incident involving the parish priest.

“In Quepem, a woman candidate from ward no. 1 went missing at the time of nomination filing, because of the goondaism of the ruling party supporters,” Chodankar said, referring to an incident which occurred on March 7.

Referring to the incident involving Fr. Bolmax Pereira, Chodankar said: “We have already condemned that act. The manner in which the BJP is so desperate to take photos of unopposed elected panchayat members as their own. The Minister had sent his people to lift the candidate”.

The incident had occurred on March 6, after Pereira had visited the residence of a woman panchayat member, who was elected unopposed in a local village panchayat ward, when he was confronted by the Minister’s PA. The confrontation in which the priest is seen harangued by the political aides went viral on social media.

“Bolmax and others stopped this goondaism. This is a new kind of politics which is being introduced in Goa,” Chodankar said.