Says his seven years of experience of working in Delhi for the party organisation will help him to head the State unit
PANJIM: The Indian National Congress (INC) President Rahul Gandhi has picked a young blood Girish Chodankar to head the Congress party in Goa.
Chodankar, an All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary, was on Thursday appointed as the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief, the post which had fallen vacant after the resignation of Shantaram Naik, last month.
“The Congress President Rahul Gandhi has appointed Girish Chodankar as President of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect,” reads the letter signed by AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot.
“The party appreciates the hard work and contribution of Shantaram Naik, who will be stepping down from the responsibility as Pradesh Congress Committee President of Goa,” the letter adds.
The post for the state chief of Goa had fallen vacant after Naik had tendered his resignation on March 20, 2018 claiming that young blood should be given a chance to head the Congress.
Chodankar, considered as a close-aide of Gandhi and was in charge of National Students Union of India (NSUI) at the national level, defeated some of the senior Congress leaders including former chief ministers Digambar Kamat and Ravi Naik, who were in the race to be next GPCC president. There were strong rumours that Kamat may head the party and accordingly, the Margao MLA had even become active on public and social platforms of late.
“I am a loyal solider of the party and have always fulfilled the responsibility given to me by the party. I am very much thankful to Rahulji and the NIC for recognising me for this post,” Chodankar informed Herald.
He said that his seven-year long experience of working in Delhi for the party organisation and handling various responsibilities will help him to head State unit.
A teacher by profession, Chodankar said that the biggest challenge before him right now is to strengthen the party organisation in the State. “Gone are the days when people would come to any political party, now it’s turn of the political parties to reach out to the people,” the Congress leader said.
Chodankar had unsuccessfully fought 2017 by-election for State Legislative Assembly from Panjim constituency against BJP candidate Manohar Parrikar. This was his second failed attempt to become an MLA. The first being during 2002 Assembly polls where he had contested from Margao constituency against then BJP candidate Digambar Kamat, who later joined Congress party.
Chodankar has held responsibility of National in-charge of NSUI attached to the then AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi between 2011 and 2017. He shifted his base to Goa during 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly elections in which Congress won with good seats but failed to form the government.
Chodankar was the president of Goa Pradesh Youth Congress Committee between 2000 and 2008.
Outgoing president Shantaram Naik said that Girish is a true dedicated Congressman.
Chodankar is likely to take the oath as president on May 1.
Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavalekar too welcomed the high command decision. “We had resolved and given all powers to the high command to decide on the new president. We welcome the decision of the party bosses,” Kavalekar said.
The Congress leader said that he would like to see a revamped and an aggressive party under the leadership of Chodankar, who will take on government over its every failure. “CLP will extend all its support to the new president,” he stated.
Wishing Chodankar, Margao MLA Digamber Kamat said, “I congratulate Girish Chodankar for his appointment as president of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee. He has come up from grassroots level and perfectly understands the pulse of the common man. I am confident that under his leadership, Congress party will work for betterment of Goemkars. I will extend my full co-operation to him in strengthening the Congress Party in Goa.”
GPCC Mahila chief Pratima Coutinho said, “I congratulate Girish Chodankar on being elevated to the post of GPCC chief and I look forward to more strength to the party in Goa now. He is from the Congress organisation and I strongly feel that he will do justice to the post. This decision of Rahul Gandhi, the AICC President, also affirms his seriousness of implementing the plans he had put forth while being appointed the AICC President.”