Currently, it is playing out the kind of episode that has not matched any previous one in the long history of Goa’s politics.
The State in the past has seen a spate of defections with at one time the Speaker and at another (more recently) the Leader of the Opposition switching sides, but what’s occurring now is a lot different. On the weekend, a Congress party spokesperson, Trajan D’Melo, addressing the media stated that his party’s leader Digambar Kamat, who is also the leader of the opposition, will go to the Bharatiya Janata Party at the next elections. This would have been matchless, had it not been for what he said next, for it didn’t end there. At the same event the spokesperson claimed that the Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco will not contest the next elections on a Congress ticket.
Coming from the party spokesperson, we have to ask is if this is what the Congress knows for certain. If it does, then is the party taking any action on its two MLAs? If this is not the fact as the party knows it, will it clear the air and will it act against the spokesperson? Either the party spokesperson or the party MLAs can be hauled up for anti-party activities. Congress has a choice on whom to act on, will it take action? Or, will it prefer to sit back and take no notice of what happened on the weekend, just as it has often done in the past?
For a party that has been displaying opposition unity in the Legislative Assembly, it appears to be a divided house itself, where its MLAs are not in sync with the organisation. Does anybody in the party know what is happening where and who has authorised what?
Take for instance the alliance for the Margao Municipal Council polls between the Congress MLAs of Margao and Curtorim with the Goa Forward Party MLA of Fatorda, Vijai Sardesai. This does not appear to have the support of the party. In the municipal wards that make up the Fatorda constituency the Congress block has fielded candidates for the civic polls and resolutely said that the alliance is between MLAs and not parties. It is at the media briefing of these candidates that the spokesperson made the statements. What damage the Fatorda Congress block will do to the alliance will be revealed on April 26, when the votes are counted. But for the final episode of this soap opera, to know what eventually occurs, we will have to wait.
The question here is of who is the rebel? Is it the Fatorda Congress block or is it the Congress Margao and Curtorim MLAs? This will keep everybody guessing. Will the State party president Girish Chodankar keep silent on this or will he speak out? Perhaps Congress observer Dinesh Rao may have an answer and will reveal it when he next comes to Goa.
It perhaps won’t be easy for even Rao to take a decision as what he says about Margao can have repercussions elsewhere. Mapusa for instance has also unveiled a united opposition panel with the Congress, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party aligning. But, then what is occurring in the South is hardly strange for Congress as just weeks ago, for the polls to the Corporation of the City of Panaji, while party stalwarts had led an united panel, the party had not shied away from placing candidates in selected wards. Before any attempts at opposition unity, Congress needs to unify itself.