PANJIM: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi did not want to bow to the pressures of the defecting MLAs from Goa and was of the opinion that their exit will cleanse the party.
A very senior Congress leader, close to the Gandhi family said that on July 9 the former president of the party was made aware of the developments in the State. “On July 9 Rahulji during a personal conversation was informed about the developments in Goa and told that any moment news of defections will be coming from the State. He did not want to relent and said that it is in the interest of the party. The party will be cleansed of such people, he said,” the senior leader stated.
When Congress’ Goa desk incharge Dr Chella Kumar was contacted to react on the statements, he did not deny this, but refused to comment. He, however, said that the party leadership was aware of all the developments unfolding in the State.
Kumar said that the current developments had begun almost one and half year ago when several members of the present defecting group had called upon him to mitigate.
“Nearly one and half year ago, one of the MLAs from the present 10 who have defected called me up and said that the group has asked him to communicate that there are offers from the ruling side and the party should intervene. He wanted me to come to Goa and talk to the others. But I refused and told him that he should call me once they are gone and then I will come to put the party structure in place,” he stated.
Kumar said that the defectors claim that they have changed the party for the development of their constituencies. “I was in the opposition for 10 years as an MLA but the development work in my constituency did not stop. If you are truly working for the people you know how to get the work done,” he added.
Stating that the 10 MLAs have jumped sides for their own benefit, he said, “You ask them, everyone has been offered some crores of rupees. They told me this even the day before the election of the Speaker (June 4). I sat with all of them as a group and heard them. I spoke for three hours to each one of them.”
When asked if the defectors will be welcomed back in future into the party fold ahead of elections, he said, “I in my capacity had opposed earlier and will oppose the re-entry of any of the defectors into the party.”