News headlines

With agency inputs

Victoria Fernandes

Panaji, Jul 27: This statement could win her a permanent place in Indian politics by way of qualification.

The lone woman legislator in the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly, elected from Santa Cruz constituency, Victoria Fernandes, who quit the membership of both the House and the Congress party by raising a banner of revolt early Thursday, is the happiest of the lot.

Her resignation coincided with her 73rd birthday on Thursday..

She is fondly called 'Mommy' by one and all, including the slum-dwellers of her Santa Cruz constituency for the meritorious service she had rendered to them for years.

"There is no permanent friend or foe in politics," she told her well-wishers who came to wish her. She was also known for active role in mobilizing women in the historic 'Opinion Poll' a few decades agi for keeping Goan identity intact against its merger with Maharashtra.

A well-known social worker throughout her life and president of the Goa Boxing Federation, she fought her way with the Congress to get the party ticket for the June 2 elections to the Goa legislative assembly.

She had organized a massive rally from her constituency to the Congress House in the city to show her strength even as her supporters gheraoed the GPCC president and now home minister Ravi S Naik demanding her re-nomination from the constituency.

'Mommy Dearest' to all her present friends in different parties
(Exclusive Daijiworld pics by special correspondent)

She won with a thumping majority by defeating her rival Jennifer Monserrate who was forced to contest on UGDP ticket with bitter rivalry even as latter's husband Babush campaigned against her against the party norms.

Victoria hurled a heap of abuses and derided Babush for his alleged anti-people policies and holliganism besides demanding the Congress to take stern action against him for indulging in money and muscle power in elections.

She launched a hunger strike demanding cabinet berth but withdrew it later as she was administered the oath of office and secrecy as the parliamentary secretary by Chief Minister Digambar kamat.

The urge in her however did not die as the "mom" had to keep mum in the House and added to this was the humiliation she had been subjected to. She had no right to note on papers sent to her as parliamentary secretary.

The decision of the Congress to move a privilige motion against her for defying the party whip to attend the House on Tuesday for voting during the budget demands debate, hurt her more.

This resulted in her going closer to one-time enemy Babush and others including BJP opposition leader Manohar Parrikar coming to one platform to raise a banner of revolt against 49-day Digambar Kamat government.

She had fired her first salvo by tendering her resignation from primary membership of the party as also the House on Thursday. "I had also spoken to speaker Pratapsingh Rane about this besides faxing the letter to governor", Victoria said.

Interestingly, she was scheduled to share platform with chief minister Digambar Kamat on Thursday at 1000 hrs at a stone-laying ceremony for an international standard indoor volleyball stadium at the government village school playground in her constituency under the Sports Authority of Goa.

But she was participating in a meeting with the BJP, SGF, MGP, UGDP and others at a hotel close to BJP headquarters to work out strategies for the forming of an alternative government.

"I will tell you my future course of action shortly after conferring with the opposition parties," she said.

Governor S C Jamir, now away in Delhi for the last two days, is expected to arrive on Friday.


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