‘Doubt She Knows Our Mother Tongue’: Oppn Up in Arms as BJP Picks Industrialist’s Wife for South Goa Battle – News18

Pallavi Dempo meets supporters at Benaulim. (X @bibidempo)

Pallavi Dempo meets supporters at Benaulim. (X @bibidempo)

Congress, AAP and the Goa Forward Party claimed that Pallavi Dempo, wife of noted businessman Shrinivas Dempo, has been picked due to her influential background

BJP’s decision to field Pallavi Dempo, wife of noted Goa industrialist Shrinivas Dempo, from the South Goa Lok Sabha seat has triggered a war of words in the state, with the united opposition calling it an affront to the common man.

Congress, AAP and the Goa Forward Party have claimed that Pallavi Dempo has been picked due to her influential background.

Slamming the move, senior Goa Congress leader Girish Chodankar said: “Giving candidature to a businessman’s wife showcases how industrialists are more preferred by the BJP over loyal, faithful party workers. It seems like the BJP’s grassroots-level cadre are mere contractual workers for the party because a candidate with no background in politics or social work is forced upon them.”

He added: “First they imported leaders and MLAs from the Congress and MGP and thrust them on BJP cadre. Dempo’s candidature is another example.” Chodankar was of the view that the Congress would benefit from the move as BJP is already trailing from South Goa as per surveys.

The South Goa constituency is currently held by Congress leader Francisco Sardinha. Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai feels the BJP is only trying to take advantage of Brand Dempo to gain votes in the constituency where the party has won only twice since 1962.

“By nominating Pallavi Dempo, BJP Goa has admitted what the people of Goa have always believed that there’s not a single party member in the entire BJP who can face voters of South Goa,” said the former deputy chief minister of Goa.

“Till three ago, BJP was saying they are considering three names from their party — Narendra Sawaikar, Damu Naik and Babu Kewlekar. Four women leaders were also spoken about. However, suddenly, Pallavi Dempo’s name came up. The BJP seemed to be rattled by its previous defeats in the constituency and that is why decided to ride on the fame of a noted industrialist. I have already challenged Pallavi-ji to debate with me in Konkani because we doubt if she knows our mother tongue,” said Goa AAP chief Amit Palekar.

Returning opposition fire, the Goa BJP said Pallavi Dempo was active in the party and had also attended several Mahila Morcha events. BJP, while assuring that the entire cadre was behind her, criticised the united opposition for delay in announcing their candidate from the same constituency.

BJP spokesperson Giriraj Vernekar said, “Two weeks since the BJP’s South Goa candidate was announced, the Congress has failed to nominate a candidate. Pallavi has attended several Mahila Morcha events in the past and has also been a member of the BJP. Her work in the field of education and social service needs no introduction. It’s not her merits that are under question, but rather, the opposition is rattled by their imminent defeat.”

He added: “The INDIA bloc must focus on quelling internal differences and finding a candidate instead of focusing on the BJP candidate. Their disconnect with the masses will be clear on June 4 when results are out.”