AS has been the practice in the Pradesh Congress, the newly elected members of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) have passed a resolution to authorise the All India Congress Committee (AICC) president to nominate GPCC president, six vice presidents and treasurer and eight AICC members from the state. As the state AICC members are supposed to be present at the AICC convention likely to be held in the next few weeks to elect the new AICC president, the party high command is expected to announce nominations shortly. Even though the GPCC members have authorised the party high command, the Congress legislature party is likely to recommend a shortlist to facilitate nominations. With the scene shifted to New Delhi, the contenders for GPCC chief’s post are expected to lobby for their nominations with key influencers in AICC decision making.
No one expected the newly elected GPCC members to elect a president on their own. First, it would have needed a consensus or at least a clear majority support for the candidate. The convention of GPCC members passing a resolution to nominate GPCC chief and other state party officials could have been then broken with confidence and credibility. After all, the Congress claims itself to be a democratic party where elections for party posts are held regularly and in a fair and transparent manner. However, the power of ‘nominating’ gets vested in the high command because that assures that the new party chief, being their pick, gets co-operation from everyone. The CLP’s say in nomination of GPCC chief will have to be considered by the AICC leadership in order to avoid a Bihar-like situation. The appointment of new state president without the approval of CLP in Bihar led to 26 of the 27 party legislators refusing to accept the new president appointed by the Congress president.
The Congress has not been in a comfortable situation in Goa since it lost power and would need a strong leader who can take on the government and united the factions and strengthen the organization. The Pradesh Congress completed the process of four rounds of organisational polls beginning from the booth level to the election of GPCC members. The party, however, managed to form only 30 block committees from among the 40 in Goa. It failed to form a block committee in Poriem, which is represented by one of its tallest leaders in the state, Pratapsing Rane. It failed to form block committees also in St Andre, Taleigao and Canacona, which are represented by Congress leaders – Francisco Silveira, Jennifer Monserrate and Isidore Fernandes. The party has failed to form block committees in Calangute, Saligao, Porvorim, Valpoi, Cumbharjua and Cortalim. Is the failure of the party to form block committees in the constituencies of Valpoi and Cumbharjua an indication that the party has lost its bases in these constituencies following the crossover of its MLAs Vishwajit Rane and Pandurang Madkaikar to the Bharatiya Janata Party bandwagon? Is not the failure on the part of the grand old party to form block committees in constituencies where the party has sitting legislators an indication that all is not well with the party organization in the state?
The Pradesh Congress has been ridden with petty factions. The factions work constantly to undermine each other, sometimes taking their fight to public domain. There are factions in every party, but the factionalism does not get as fratricidal as it does in the Congress. Internally, it makes the situation so awful no leading figure inspires confidence that he would be able to carry the entire party with himself. Whoever the new GPCC president is he would have an onerous task of bringing the factions together. He will have to keep himself above the factional intrigues and keep mutual undermining under check. Let us hope the AICC president and her advisers finally nominate someone as GPCC chief who would be acceptable to the majority in the Pradesh Congress. As the BJP-led government in the state looks determined to pursue criminal cases against some of the Pradesh Congress leaders the Congress high command would have to sift the list of probables to find someone who can inspire public confidence in his integrity. After all, charges of rampant corruption was what brought the Congress government in the state down. The next test for the Congress electoral support would be at the elections to the Lok Sabha in 2019. Speculations are refusing to die down about Goa going for Assembly elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha. That eventuality would require full preparedness on the part of the Pradesh Congress, the first step to which is having an inspiring GPCC president.