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Goa bypoll: decision on Congress candidate today

Special Correspondent

PANAJI: Uncertainty over the Congress candidate for the October 30 byelection to the south Goa parliamentary constituency will end on Friday, the last day for filing of the nominations.

The All India Congress Committee general secretary B. Hari Prasad, who is in-charge of Goa Affairs, said here on Thursday that the official announcement on the candidate would be made after the name was cleared by the Congress high command on Friday. Following this, the candidate will file nomination at Margao in south Goa.

As talks between the ruling Congress and the Save Goa Front (SGF) over the merger of SGF with the Congress remained inconclusive, Goa Pradesh Congress president Francisco Sardinha emerged front-runner in the race by Thursday.

Mr. Alemao, a rebel Congressman, who is now a Minister in the Congress-led coalition government at the Centre, has demanded ticket for his daughter Valenka Alemao.

There is opposition to this within the Congress as the demand is seen as yet another arm-twisting game by Mr. Alemao.

The Congress has reportedly put the merger of his party as a precondition.

When contacted, Mr. Alemao declined to say anything on the issue.

Mr. Prasad avoided any direct reply on the issue when presspersons asked him about the merger proposal, but quipped, “negotiations and discussions do take place in a democracy, talks of merger are still going on.”

He, however, denied that Mr. Alemao, who is part of the Congress-led coalition in Goa, has threatened to pull out of the Government if the merger would not take place.

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