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Rebel NCP leaders call Pawar 'communal'

IANS
Jun 11, 2009 at 01:02am IST

Panaji: Members of Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) Goa unit, who resigned from the party a day earlier, on Wednesday lashed out the party chief and union minister Sharad Pawar calling him "anti-Catholic" and "communal".

At least 30 out of party's 37-member state executive committee have resigned following the lead of former chief minister and Goa unit chief Wilfred D'souza.

"Pawar is a very communal person. Pawar went to lengths to ensure that a Catholic was not made a Lok Sabha candidate last elections. He instead preferred borrowing a Hindu landlord from the Congress to fight on the NCP ticket," former transport minister Fatima D'Sa told reporters.

HOUNDED? NCP chief Sharad Pawar has been in a lot of stress over its party politics recently.

"Goan Catholics were the first to join the NCP here and now he does not want to associate with them. It goes to show how communal he is," D'Sa said.

Goa NCP general secretary also charged Pawar and senior leader Praful Patel of cozying up to liquor baron Vijay Mallya at his sprawling Goa residence rather than solving niggling issues related to the functioning of the state unit.

"They (Pawar and Patel) never even came to our office, instead preferred spending time either in five star hotels or at Vijay Mallya's plush bungalow.

For two years Patel has not even attended a co-ordination committee meeting between state coalition government partners," D'Sa said.

Endorsing D'Sa, former NCP general secretary Surendra Furtado said that the party in Goa was now merely a handmaid of the mining lobby and a close aide of Sharad Pawar, Prafulla Hede.

"The party's central leadership has no consultations with the local leadership on important issues but depended on the advise by the mine owner who is not even a party member," Furtado said.

The NCP and the Congress have a coalition government in the state. The three NCP legislators and two cabinet ministers have not resigned.

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