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End the bickering and back the leader

13 May 2017 05:16am IST
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13 May 2017 05:16am IST

The reported rumblings in the Congress and demands for a change in party leadership at the organisational level have been dismissed by the Congress Goa desk in-charge, who said there is no such demand.

The reported rumblings in the Congress and demands for a change in party leadership at the organisational level have been dismissed by the Congress Goa desk in-charge, who said there is no such demand. But this raises the questions of what the Congress MLAs really want and where their allegiance lies. Seeking a change in leadership, just months after the party made one of the most remarkable of comebacks in the general elections to the State Assembly, and giving no valid reasons for the demand, smacks of a posturing on the part of the MLAs. 

Congress went to the February 4 elections with six MLAs, with few expecting it to convince the electorate that the party still had it in it to deliver. The weeks before the election, one man stood his ground to ensure that the party did not enter into any alliance with regional parties, and it was Luizinho Faleiro’s leadership that saw the party return with 17 MLAs, to become the single largest party in the State Assembly. That Congress, after that victory, was not able to form the government because of a delay in staking claim and delay in electing a leader, is an error that the party will have to live with. 

The then Congress leader in-charge of the Goa desk, Digvijay Singh, has been relieved of his duties for the fiasco. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar even thanked Singh for ‘roaming around in Goa’ and so allowing him (Parrikar) the opportunity to form the government. The blame for the mess in government fiasco has been laid and action taken. The time now is for unity in the State Congress under the existing leadership of Faleiro that has been tested in the State and outside the State and proved. Taking Congress from six MLAs to 17 MLAs is no small feat. Seeking the Congress President’s resignation, on the ambiguous charge that his continuance in that position mars the possibility of the Congress forming the government is almost absurd.

What, perhaps, the Congress MLAs demanding that Faleiro quit don’t know is that he tendered his resignation on October 16, 2015, exactly one year after he had taken over the reins of the State Congress. He did so at that time as he felt that the task he had been entrusted of building up the organization had been completed.

One of his first acts on taking over as State Congress president was to organise a chintan shibhir to plan the resurgence of the Congress in the State and a year later he had succeeded in setting up the unit and revived the various arms of the Congress, going on to write to the party high command offering to resign as he has completed the job he had been assigned. The party leadership refused the resignation and asked him to continue in office until the elections, which he did. 

Faleiro came to Goa after a successful stint as Congress General Secretary in charge in Karnataka and in the North East, where he managed to bring the party to power, perhaps getting more Congress governments formed in the States he was in charge of, than other Congress leader. He returned to Goa at the request of the Congress central leadership to head the state unit when it was perhaps at its lowest, and he was at his highest, a period when he contemplated retiring from politics. What reason can there be to demand his resignation, after the election success?

With two vital by-elections coming up, Congress needs to put up a united front if it is to retain the trust that the electorate reposed in it just three months ago. Petty bickering is unbefitting the party that almost came to power in the State.

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