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Congress resolves to expel Atanasio for anti-party work

PANAJI: The state Congress has decided to crack the whip against those indulging in anti-party activities by resolving to expel Atanasio Monserrate, the party legislator from St Cruz, from the party for indulging in “anti-party activities” during the recently held election to the Panaji assembly constituency.

Announcing the decision of the party executive committee at a meeting held soon after the results of the Panaji by-elections were announced, spokesperson of the party Sunil Khawtankar told reporters that a resolution was passed to expel Monserrate from the party for anti-party activities and his outburst against the party leadership as well.

He refused to state when and who would issue the expulsion order but said that action against Monserrate would be taken soon. Top Congress leaders from the state said that the party was likely to issue expulsion order in the next two to three days. “The action against Monserrate would be taken within 48 hours,” a top party functionary said.

The Congress spokesperson said that the St Cruz legislator had made open, flagrant, derisive and contemptuous statements to media and to party functionaries and workers against party nominee for the by-polls Surendra Furtado, in particular and party leadership, in general. He had also openly declared his support to the Bharatiya Janata Party during the election.

The GPCC executive committee on Monday had adopted a resolution which read as: “It is hereby  resolved that Atanasio Monserrate be expelled from the party forthwith and be debarred from re-entering the party under any circumstances.” The expulsion of St Cruz legislator will send right signals to others, the Congress spokesperson said.

It has also been stated in the state Congress resolution that Monserrate had openly told All India Congress Committee secretary A Chellakumar that he would work against the Congress candidate. It was stated by the Congress spokesperson that Monserrate openly worked for BJP nominee Sidharth Kuncalienkar.

Responding to a query on delayed action, Khawtankar said the party has at least shown the guts to act against one of its legislators, despite the fact that its numbers were small in the assembly. The ruling party despite its numerical strength has shied away from taking action against its legislators who have been openly criticising it. He also said that before taking action Congress had made all the attempts for reconciliation with Monserrate but failed despite showing party’s magnanimity, leniency and forbearance for his anti-party actions. He also said that similar action would be initiated against those leaders, who have not worked for party’s official candidate.

In response to another question, he said that there would not be any effect on the party following expulsion of Monserrate. He went on to add that if Monserrate was unhappy with the Congress and its decisions, he should have resigned from the party as also his seat in the state assembly, which he won on a Congress ticket.

Meanwhile, Agnelo Fernandes, another Congress party spokesperson, has said that his party has resolved to denounce and condemn the government move to impose censorship on tiatrs and nataks. “They welcomed the tiatrs while Congress was ruling but were afraid of them fearing criticism from the same forum which they loved once,” he said.

“We strongly object the move to bring in censorship on dramas, which in future could also be extended to media,” he said adding that his party would take to the streets to protest against the move to transgress into the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. He said that tiatrs give commentary on current affairs and have been staged for ages. “If someone is aggrieved one can take recourse to filing case,” he said.

Meanwhile, 13 new members have been added to the GPCC, including Filipe Neri Rodrigues as vice president, Agnelo Fernandes, Pandurang Madkaikar, Sunil Khawtankar, Yatish Naik, Vijay Pai and Joseph Dias as general secretaries.

Others who have been inducted into the GPCC are Durgadas Kamat, Mario Pinto, Vaman Chodankar, Atul Verlekar, Devendra Dessai and Mahadeo Dessai as secretaries. Most of the new members are young leaders. GPCC president Luizinho Faleiro said that hard work would be rewarded and that party would infuse young blood to revitalise the party.

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