Venzy Viegas has emerged as a giant killer in Goa. In the assembly elections, the son of a motor mechanic and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate defeated Trinamool Congress’ Churchill Alemao in Benaulim.
Alemao, a former Chief Minister and five-time MLA, was the firm favourite in Benaulim and joined the TMC in December 2021. He had dismissed Viegas as a “bachcha” just before the elections.
When the result of Benaulim constituency was announced on Thursday, Viegas immediately catapulted to fame. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal congratulated him, saying this is the “beginning of honest politics” in Goa. The Congress’s Antonio Feliciano Dias was the third candidate from the seat.
Viegas told NDTV that he is “thrilled and excited”. “I don’t have political background. My father was a motor mechanic. I come from a simple family and a god-fearing,” he added.
“People have put their faith in me because they realise that AAP is now the only hope for the people of India,” he added.
Viegas then listed his priorities, saying he is going to be the voice of Goa. He also talked about the set of private members bills he intends to introduce in the assembly. Viegas now plans to see them through.
What is his priority number 1? “I want to make ambulance access mandatory for all Goan houses.”
Viegas also wants to “fine tune” the Sound Act in Goa, under which music has to shut at 10 pm. He said this is bad for business.
“I want to amend the Sound Act so that so that there is no corruption. Music should not be stopped at 10 PM because business starts at that time, so need to implement such measures so people don’t get disturbed but also business can continue,” Viegas told NDTV.
Ahead of the elections, Alemao had rejected Viegas’ challenge for a debate. Speaking to NDTV in January, he said, “Why are you taking bachcha’s name, man? Call Kejriwal. I have never taken the name of the person, people like him come and go.” He then dubbed AAP the “B-team” of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
‘Why are you taking bachcha’s name, men?’ – Churchill’s response when I asked him if he’ll debate his AAP rival, a first timer called Venzy Viegas. Venzy has won. #Goahttps://t.co/rhEYfLrfgx
— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) March 10, 2022
As per numbers on the Election Commission website, the AAP candidate defeated Mr Alemao by a margin of 1,271 votes.
A win against Alemao will be a confidence booster for AAP. The veteran politician won the Benaulim four times – in 2017, 1999, 1995 and 1990.
The Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) emerged as the largest single party in Goa assembly elections, winning 20 out of 40 seats, just short of the majority mark of 21. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said three Independents who emerged winners have pledged support to the BJP and the party has also received support from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (2 seats).