Monday 22 July 2019

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Politics | General

Ravi - Sardinha may be axed, if Sonia goes tough

 

The debacle of the ruling Congress party in Goa is likely to prove fatal for at least two ministers as the party high command has decided to take disciplinary action against those who helped the Bharatiya Janata Party to win both the seats here.

The axe may thus fall on PWD minister Ravi Naik and health minister Francisco Sardinha, who were made campaign in-charge of the North Goa and South Goa constituencies respectively.

Both are the former MPs who then contested Assembly polls in June after the 12th Lok Sabha was dissolved. Incidentally, both of them were projected as their leaders by a group of dissidents who were planning to topple the government for not inducting them into the cabinet.

"Not expanding the cabinet and indiscipline are the two main reasons for such a debacle", admits chief minister Luizinho Faleiro. The threat from the disgruntled elements was so much that he had to expand his cabinet in the midst of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival here, soon after the Lok Sabha polls.

Though Faleiro shares the high command's view that stern action be taken against the party detractors, he has still not decided who should be targeted. He is planning to leave for Delhi next week to discuss the matter. "I am not scared of anybody now", he says.

But the results show that the ruling party suffered a severe setback at least in 19 Assembly segments out of 25 it represents, including three in Salcete – Curtorim (Sardinha), Loutolim (Alex Sequeira) and Cuncolim (Arecio D'Souza) - where the lead for the Congress was negligible.

In fact, North Goa candidate Ramakant Khalap could score over the BJP only by 175 votes in his own Mandrem Assembly segment. Putting the 'original Congressmen' to shame, the new entrants like Suresh Parulekar (Calangute) and Prakash Velip (Quepem) scored a lead over the BJP in their respective segments.

Besides segments represented by Sardinha and Naik, who are already enjoying good positions in the cabinet, the Congress got washed away severely at least in three more segments – represented by speaker and former chief minister Pratapsing Rane, minister Dayanand Narvekar and Nirmala Sawant, another minister who has been now projected as the new PCC president.

But still there are grounds to believe that non-expansion of cabinet played a major role in the Lok Sabha polls as at least nine such segments were represented by the disgruntled elements. Three among them – Somnath Juwarkar (Taleigao), Subhash Shirodkar (Shiroda) and Sanjay Bandekar (Canacona) - were awarded cabinet berths later.

The other aspirants are Shaikh Hassan (Mormugao), Mauvin Godinho (Cortalim), Luis Alex Cardoz (Fatorda), Victoria Fernandes (St Cruz) and Jitendra Deshprabhu (Pernem), where the BJP scored over the Congress. In fact, BJP's lead of 175 votes in Cortalim is a clear indication of what transpired.

But the position in the Assembly segments of five other non-aspirant Congress legislators was no different. Eve they got a beating from the BJP in Dhargalim (Babu Azgaonkar), St Andre (Francis Silveira), Vasco (Jose Philip D'Souza), Cuncolim (Arecio D'Souza) and Valpoi (Bandu Desai).

"It is time to bring discipline so that everybody behaves properly", says Faleiro. But the anti-Faleiro camp is targeting the chief minister, alleging that he failed to make the party victorious. Plans are afoot to demand change in the leadership, as a counter-move.

"It is a collective responsibility from workers to the leaders, including the CM and the PCC chief", feels Naik, who may lose the cabinet berth in the bargain. Faleiro, on the other hand, was also holding the post of the PCC president till date.

Planning to hand it over to Sawant, he has now announced several plans to strengthen the party by starting mass contact programmes, massive membership drive, public meetings in all the Assembly segments as well as total reorganisation of the committees - from block to the PCC level.






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