Wednesday 14 November 2018

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Outdated Congmen vying for PCC chief post

 

The political activity has suddenly gained momentum in 'all-well' Goa, thanks to Congress President Sitaram Kesri, who dissolved the Goa PCC last week on flimsy grounds. Seizing the opportunity, the 'outdated' Congress leaders are now seen lobbying for the post of PCC chief.

It was a shock for Goa PCC president Nirmala Sawant, who was appointed by then AICC chief P V Narasimha Rao on the eve of '94 Assembly polls after her predecessor Shantaram Naik voluntarily stepped down to contest the Assembly seat. Naik lost the seat, but Sawant continued in the post with the blessings of high command.

Moves to oust Sawant had begun once again since Sitaram Kesri had taken over. ''The PCC has been dissolved at our request when we met Kesriji last week'', claims Naik, who was accompanied by another former PCC chief Sulochana Katkar to Delhi. Though both of them are trying to get the seat once again, supporters is the big problem they are facing to parade before the high command observers.

Though Sawant has publicly welcomed dissolution of the state PCC, her supporters are in an furious mood against what they describe as the unprecedented and undemocratic step by Kesri. Heading the Sawant camp is the state unit of Mahila Congress, who have expressed surprise over removal of Sawant, one of the few lady presidents holding the post in the country.

Though Goa PCC was dissolved along with five other state PCCs, it is incidentally the only state where Congress has been ruling the state, providing a stable government. Even people in general have been laughing at the justification given by the party high command while dissolving the Goa PCC. It seems to be the non-performance by the ruling party in the Lok Sabha polls by loosing both the seats.

''Who can be convinced with this argument, when no such action has been initiated in any other state of the country for loosing many more seats than Goa ? The action proves beyond doubt that people close to the Congress high command have no respect for its committed cadres'', states one senior Congress leader here.

According to him, Sawant should have been reelected the president in elections slated to be held in May for selflessly taking up party responsibility at crucial hours, giving up a sure Assembly seat, which she ultimately won with Krishna Kuttikar as the MLA. Congress could perform better even in the by-elections in Benaulim, the stronghold of MP Churchill Alemao, solely because of Sawant's efforts to get all party leaders together, he claims.

But she had created too many enemies in the government, admits another Sawant supporter, by not bowing down before Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane when issues like setting up offshore casinos in the state came up. Another strong camp in the government, headed by Irrigation Minister Dayanand Narvekar, had in fact put her removal as the first point on their political agenda.

The only little support she enjoyed was from the rebel camp led by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Wilfred de Souza. She had openly supported de Souza at the time of selecting the CM. But de Souza camp is presently not in a so powerful position in the government, though Sawant has been trying hard to retain her position in the PCC.

As a result, the defeated Congress leaders like former union minister Eduardo Faleiro, former chief minister Ravi Naik and former minister Francisco Sardinha are seen lobbying hard to seize the PCC chief post. Though the post would be temporary in nature as organisational elections would be held in May, these leaders plan to use it as a ladder for their political resurrection.

The atmosphere in the Congress House however seems to be more in favour of Sardinha, rather than Faleiro, who could never integrate with the local politics or Naik, who is more seen as the ambitious and selfish politician than a leader who could be accepted by all cross sections in the Congress. ''Even we will put our weight behind Sardinha if time comes'', says a Sawant supporter.

The high command observers have already visited the state, spending three days meeting the local leaders and party cadres to ascertain the situation. But hardly any impact the three-day exercise would have on selecting the 'interim PCC chief' than the opinion of party supremo Sitaram Kesri, opine the party leaders here.

The whole wave may be tuned also in favour of Naik, as he is the only contender who has visited the national capital before the observers could arrive in Goa. More leaders, including the contenders, are now expected to rush to Delhi, shifting the whole political drama to the national capital.






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