Eminent surgeon and politician Wilfred de Souza, who won the elections from three different constituencies and went on to become the chief minister of the state on three different occasions, passed away on Friday morning after suffering a heart attack. He was 88.
De Souza, who had a fall at his house on Thursday, was admitted to a private hospital after he showed signs of breathlessness from where he was moved to yet another private hospital where he breathed his last. He is survived by wife and two daughters. His funeral has been slated for Sunday at 10.30 a.m.
The death of Dr Willy, as he was popularly known, sent shockwaves across the state and a large number of people including his former colleagues, friends, associates rushed to his Saligao residence to pay homage.
Associated with erstwhile United Goans Party (UGP) in his early political life, de Souza was first elected from Benaulim as legislator. Later he joined the Congress party and was instrumental in bringing the party to the power in 1980. He was also elected from Calangute and Saligao constituencies.
He then left Congress to form Goa Congress following differences with the Congress leadership. He rejoined the Congress party and was sworn in as the Chief Minister on May 18, 1993 and held the office till 1994, when he was “removed” from the office by the then Governor Bhanu Pratap Singh.
De Souza was reinstated as the Chief Minister after the central government intervened and held the office from April 8, 1994 to November 23, 1998. He was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the third time on July 29, 1998 and held the office till February 8, 1999, this time as the leader of Goa Rajiv Congress.
He was also associated with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) since 1999 and went on to become the deputy Chief Minister of the state of the Congress-NCP government. He later joined the