Goa’s most respected Politician and surgeon Wilfred de Souza who was at the helm of Goa’s politics for three occasions passed away peacefully after the brief illness, he was 88.  De Souza who had al fall at his Saligao residence on Thursday was admitted to a private hospital after he showed signs of breathlessness from where he later moved to another bigger private hospital in the city but doctors could not manage to revive him and he breathed his last on Friday early morning. He is survived by wife and two daughters. His funeral is slated for Sunday 6th September 2015 at 10.30am.

Death of Willy (as he was popularly known amongst his circle) had sent tremor across the state most of the political leaders of Goa visited his residence in Saligao to pay homage.

De Souza was born in Kampala, Uganda on 23 April 1927, to Dr Tito Fermino de Souza and Alina Ana Maria de Souza. He had been been credited with being one of Goa’s most skilled surgeons and holds a double FRCS. He was married to the British-origin nurse Grace. He is also credited with managing to work out the surprising 1980 first-ever Congress victory in Goa, whose politics from 1963 till 1979 had been dominated by the regional parties, particularly the MGP (Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party).

Initially he was associated with the Uninted Goans Party in his early political life where he was first got elected from Benaulim as legislator but later he joined Congress party and was instrumental in bringing the party to the power in 1980. He was also elected from Calangute and Saligao constituencies. He left Congress over the differences with the high command but later he re joined and was sworn in as CM of Goa in May 18, 1993 and was holding the CM’s office till 1994 from where he was removed by then governor Bhanu Pratap Singh in 1994, but soon he was reinstated as CM of Goa again in April 1994 after the intervention of centre into the Goan politics. He stayed there till 1998. He was sworn in as CM third time in July 1998 when he was the leader of Goa Rajiv Congress, the party formed by him after parting away from mainstream.

Later on 1999 he began his association with NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) and then he became the deputy CM in Congress-NCP allied government. He was a man of substance and all his opponents have a due respect for him till date. Ramakant Khalap addressed him as “Chanakya of Goan politics”.

Wilfred, who holds a double FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, (Edinburgh and London) was conferred with several awards, plunged into politics after he contested the assembly elections in 1974. He was recipient of Dr B C Roy Award as “Eminent Medical Man & Statesman” from the Medical Council of India at the hands of then President of India, K R Narayanan. Known for his combative brand of politics, he was the key figure in the Congress (U) win in 1980, which dislodged the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party after 17 years of rule and changed the face of state politics.

Goan political history cannot be written without the mention of De Souza who brought the congress party into Goa. His career map and his ethical journey in Goa politics will remain the landmark for the budding political leaders. Goa Prism salutes this stalwart.

Source: Various Sources

Edited by: Goa Prism News Desk   

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