Tuesday 28 January 2020

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Politics | Assembly '99

Goa Cong overlooks foreign origin issue

 

Increasing disintegration in the Congress at national level over the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin may have direct repercussion on Goa, which is facing state elections on June 4. But the local leaders appear least worried about adopting damage control methods.

"It will have no adverse impact here. On the contrary, the sympathy wave being created in favour of Mrs Gandhi would benefit us", claims Luizinho Faleiro, the Goa PCC chief and former chief minister. However, he has not even bothered to discuss the issue within the party.

"I have conveyed my request to her to withdraw her resignation", he says. But senior Congressmen are enraged over Faleiro’s negligent attitude. They are now planning to request to Ramesh Chennithala, the AICC joint secretary co-ordinating elections here, to convene the GPCC meeting.

Though most of the leaders are trying to avoid calling even the PCC office bearers’ meeting to take stock of the situation under the pretext of being busy with election campaign, senior Congressmen wonder how the party could remain silent when the worker is dejected and the sympathiser is confused over the issue.

While one camp claims that Faleiro is deliberately keeping mum because he is equally close to P A Sangma, the expelled Congress leader, another camp feels the local leaders have simply not understood gravity of the issue vis a vis the voter.

Instead of getting into the controversy, the local leadership appears to have preferred to wait till elections to take any kind of stand since it may prove fatal to the party’s prospects in case if any partyman comes out openly in support of Pawar and company.

Way back in 1980, majority of the local Congress here had joined the revolt waged by Devraj Urs and even won the Assembly polls under Congress (Urs), only to convert themselves as Congress (Indira) overnight when Indira Gandhi swept elections at national level. They probably do not want to repeat the history.

But getting more closer to the views expressed by the opposition parties, Goa Youth Congress chief Vishnu Wagh admits that the national developments may have some impact on state elections. "The Congress will be put to test", he says, adding that decision needs to be taken on whether Congress should remain personality-oriented or as an institution.

With almost all the youth congress nominees being rejected tickets by Mrs Gandhi’s coterie, discontent is already brewing among the cadres here. The present issue may help them as additional fuel to lit the fire on the eve of elections. Wagh has convened the GPYC meeting on Monday to discuss the issue threadbare.

While claiming that the controversy would definitely affect Congress prospects in Goa, Dr Wilfred de Souza, leader of the Goa Rajiv Congress, is perhaps trying to settle his scores with his former Congress colleagues. Except Churchill Alemao, he claims everyone else could be more close to Pawar than Mrs Gandhi.

Though he criticises Pawar and company for raising the issue which is out of the bounds of the constitution, de Souza however does not want to associate neither with the Congress nor the Pawar group. "Everything would depend on what kind of combination emerges after elections", he says, while reiterating that he is a hard-core Congressman and Congress is his natural ally.

Former union minister Ramakant Khalap, whose Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was founded by the Maharashtra Congress to counter upper-caste domination in the local Congress in early 60s, has fully supported Pawar for diverting attention of Indians from ‘Hindutwa’ to ‘Bharatiyatva’.

Though he claims to have been keeping equidistant from the Congress, the BJP as well as the Pawar group, he also does not hide his intention to join the third front at later stage. "We cannot remain mute spectators for too long without taking a firm stand", says the MGP leader. 






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Assembly '99

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