QUEPEM: Aspiring candidates have already started preparations for the elections of the Quepem Municipal Council slated for the last week of October even though the list of the reserved wards has still not been released. And, the tussle between the mining and the anti-mining lobbies promises to give that extra zing to the elections this time.
A casual glance of the whole setting throws up some interesting points. One of the more intriguing ones being that the mining lobby – that has borne the brunt of the people’s fury after some gruesome accidents involving ore-laden trucks, is planning to field their own candidates in the wards, through which the ore is transported so that they will have political power in the Quepem Municipal Council by getting their candidates elected.
Apparently some of the candidates promoted by the mining lobby have already started campaigning with voters already reaping a bonanza. Reliable sources informed that in some wards where the mining lobby does not get suitable candidate, they will finance pro-mining candidates. This move of the mining lobby might be just the start as they have plans to field their own candidate in the Assembly elections.
Another interesting point is the very evident underground movement witnessed as many aspirant candidates which include even sitting councillors have begun running from pillar to post to try and ensure that their wards will not be reserved either as ladies wards or for the ST/SC.
This has led to some observers criticising the authorities and alleging that they are purposely doing this so as to get the candidates of their choice elected instead of strong or deserving candidates getting a chance.
Another reason, analysts also say, and this charge was also echoed by the Leader of Opposition, Mr Manohar Parrikar the other day, is that ruling party leaders use this policy of last minute reservation to spoil chances of candidates whom they perceive could be a threat to them or who are working hard in their wards thus turning this exercise of grass root democracy into a farce.
However, this is not a problem only in Quepem, but in all the municipalities that are going for elections now; they want something to be done to stop this. To add to this, some aspiring ST/SC candidates are complaining that the Quepem Municipality officials have intentionally given wrong statistics to the Director of Municipal Administration by manipulating the figures of the ST/SC population in some wards.
As per their statistics, the population in all wards of the municipality will not be less than 30 per cent. But, some have adjusted these figures so that these wards will not be reserved for ST/SC.
On the other side as per the information received from sources indicate that there will be a tough fight in many wards between the present councilors, candidates fielded by the locals and candidates fielded by the mining lobby too.
It may be recalled that in the last mining season, the villagers of Quepem had formed Quepem Taluka Mining Affected People’s Front’ and vigorously raised their voice against the mining lobby.


diogofichardo said...

Lets hope anti-mining lobby have a suitable canditate who is honest and will fight for the will of the Goan people.

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