Johnson Coelho was elected as the new sarpanch of the village panchayat of Colva on Thursday after a series of incidents where one panch had to be taken to the hospital after feeling uneasy and another complained that the elections were not fair and that COVID SOPs were not being followed.
Coelho along with panch member Pio Furtado had filed their nominations for the post which has been vacant for the past three months. However, half way through the proceedings, Furtado began complaining of uneasiness and called for an ambulance which later took him to Hospicio hospital.
Another panch member, Menino Fernandes meanwhile complained that the election process was not fair and that COVID SOPs were not followed. “I will be complaining to the BDO that the COVID appropriate measures and SOPs were not followed. There was no proper social distancing maintained, even the chairs in the hall were not properly spaced. I did not vote because I don’t think this was a fair election,” he said.
Five panch members however said they had voluntarily done their COVID tests and presented the COVID negative test reports to the other panchas and presiding officer for the elections. Incidentally, outgoing sarpanch Anthony Fernandes had given his resignation from the post in March.
Presiding officer Maya Nagarsekar while announcing the result said that a total of six votes were registered, five of which were registered to Coelho and one was declared as invalid as both names on the ballot paper were
Speaking to the media after taking charge as sarpanch Coelho thanked his supporters and said pending development work of the village would be his first priority. “Thankfully that the elections went well. To my group, I would like to say thank you for always being supportive. These elections were being postponed and it has been three months since the ex-sarpanch had given his resignation. The elections were being stalled because of COVID. My first priority will be to take up all the pending works that are yet to be completed in the village,” said Coelho.
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