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  • Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

The Aam Aadmi Party has won a majority in two village panchayats of Goa, in the recently concluded panchayat elections. The villages of St Estevam in North Goa and Carmona in South Goa will experience the AAP way of honest politics and representative governance.

In Carmona village of South Goa, AAP volunteers tied up with like-minded civic forums and jointly contested the poll as a panel. Three AAP volunteers – Savita Mascarenhas, Zuazin Mendes and Benis won their wards, while two AAP sympathisers – Winston Fernandes and Allwyn George – were also elected, thus enabling them to take control of the seven-member panchayat body. Savita was unanimously elected the deputy sarpanch and Winston was elected Sarpanch. At the first gram Sabha slated to be held shortly, the ruling panel promised to unveil a year-long plan and seek people’s approval. Similarly in North Goa, AAP volunteers have gained control of the panchayat in St Estevam village.

The Goa Panchayat Raj Act specifically debars political parties from sponsoring candidates at these elections. But that does not stop Goa’s BJP and Congress politicians from buying the loyalties of winning horses and then keeping them under their leash. In both these villages, the local MLAs did attempt to lure the AAP volunteers to switch loyalties but in the true spirit of honest politics, they rebuffed their overtures outright.

Individual victories of volunteers in other villages, including Linda Vaz (Raia) and Kevin De Souza (Seraulim), were a further boost to the party. AAP Goa Convenor Elvis Gomes described this victory as the beginning of the “revolution” from the grassroots. He said, “It will help us build a strong organisation on the back of the State Party recognition we earned by garnering more than six per-cent of the polled vote at the Assembly hustings.”

“The panchayat election results have also served as a morale booster for volunteers across Goa, who are now gearing up to take on Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in the by-election in Panaji”, Gomes said.