MARGAO: Will football and the political players’ close association with the game pave the way for former two-time MP Churchill Alemao to embrace the Nationalist Congress Party (Ajit Pawar) faction in the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls?
Consider this. In the run up to the 2022 Assembly polls, former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao had quit the Sharad Pawar-led NCP to embrace Mamata Didi-led Trinamool Congress. Apart from a host of other factors, many then pointed that what had brought Churchill and daughter Valanka close to the TMC was the game of football, followed passionately by Mamata Didi and the father-daughter duo.
West Bengal CM throws footballs to crazy soccer fans
In fact, those who had attended the massive public meeting organised by Churchill at the Dando grounds, Benaulim in the run up to the 2022 Assembly polls to herald his entry into the TMC had seen Mamata Didi throwing footballs from the dais to the crazy soccer fans in the audience, trying to send across a message that football is a common meeting point between the people of Goa and Bengal.
It’s another matter that the TMC proved unlucky for Churchill once again. Both Churchill and daughter Valanka had to bite the dust in Benaulim and Navellim Assembly constituencies in the last Assembly polls. Take note, Churchill had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from South Goa, but had failed to make a dent in the constituency when the Lotus had bloomed after defeating the Congress.
Churchill Alemao might contest in upcoming Lok Sabha polls
With the 2024 Lok Sabha poll bugle sounded by the major political players, with alignments and re-alignments underway across the country, Churchill is back again in the scheme of things. Though maintaining low profile, Churchill, however, did not rule out the possibility of throwing his hat in the coming Lok Sabha polls from South Goa in 2024.
That he air-dashed to Mumbai last week to call on his long-time friend, former president of Indian Football Association chief Praful Patel had given indications that Churchill is exploring all options, including the option to head the NCP (Ajit Pawar) party in Goa. “I had gone to Mumbai to meet Praful Patel of the NCP Ajit Pawar faction. We both enjoy good relationship since the time Praful was heading the Indian Football Association,” Churchill said.
He, however, hasten to add that he and Praful did discuss the prevailing political situation and the emerging political developments unfolding in the country. “Both of us discussed football as well as politics. I did not go to Mumbai to meet leaders of the NCP Sharad Pawar group. Hence, the question of I returning back to the NCP headed by Sharad Pawar does not arise,” he said.
Sources in the know informed that Praful has extended an open invitation to Churchill to join the NCP (Ajit Pawar) faction and set up the unit in Goa. Though the NCP (Ajit Pawar) is part of the Maharashtra government along with the BJP, sources said Praful Patel is believed to have assured Churchill that the NCP is ready to work out a formula if he has reservations over the party’s association with the BJP.
Churchill, however, is unlikely to take a decision in haste. Sources said the seasoned political campaigner is expected to take some time to take a call after assessing the political situation back home and may wait for the authorities to decide on the claims made by the warring factions to control the NCP.
Goan ministers | The Goan Network