Goa Congress set for total re-organisation

BY ABDUL RAUF BEIG | NT
PANAJI: The Thursday’s interaction between the All India Congress Committee general secretary, Mr Rahul Gandhi, and the state Congress leaders including grassroots level party workers is likely to end up with the total re-organisation of the Congress in Goa along with the changes at the AICC level and some other states.

With almost everybody firing salvo at the state Congress leadership and the two central observers at each and every meeting, Mr Gandhi had to intervene and tell the state Congress workers that they should tell something new as he had heard too much, even as he gave direct indications that he would do the needful to revive the Congress party.
The much-anticipated changes would take place by the middle of January when Mr Gandhi is set to take over a larger role in the party affairs. Party insiders said that the main task of Mr Gandhi after taking over the charge would be to make changes at all levels and infuse new blood in the party organisation so as to prepare it for the future challenges.
Top sources in the Congress party said that the first casualty of interaction between Mr Gandhi and the state grassroots level leaders would be the two central observers who were exposed for their lack of interest in party’s affairs in the state and their preference to enjoy five-star life at the cost of building the party.
There have been clear indications from Mr Gandhi that he would like to bring in younger persons, who constitute over 60 per cent of India’s population to be part of the organisation and lead the party to meet the aspiration of the younger generation, the Congress leaders in the know said. The older generation is likely to get the advisory role.
As the state party workers have complained bitterly about absence or rather lack of party leadership in Goa and its failure to take on the ruling dispensation, state Congress too would have a large representation of younger leaders who would be in a position to take on the ruling party and show presence of Congress and propagate its policies.
The president, however, could be a seasoned leader with suitable experience and Mr Francisco Sardinha is one of the contenders, the Congress insiders indicated adding that the new president should be able to blend the youth and the old party leaders and prepare the party for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The AICC general secretary has, in the meanwhile, ruled out the possibility of appointing Mr Luizinho Faleiro, who is at the moment a permanent invitee of the Congress Working Committee and looking after party affairs in North-East, as president of the state unit of the party, a role he played earlier.
Congress sources said that when a senior state leader of Congress requested Mr Gandhi that Mr Faleiro be appointed as the state Congress president, he said that the Congress party needed services of Mr Faleiro at the central level and in North-East and that he would not be spared.
Party insiders also said that when Mr Gandhi sought an explanation as to why the party has been playing a passive role ever since its defeat in the assembly elections, some leader tried to put up feeble defence saying that the Chief Minister would file cases against anyone speaking against him, to which Mr Gandhi reportedly said that the party should be aggressive and ready to show its might than be a mute spectator.
Some other Congress leaders brought to the notice of the AICC general secretary the corruption that was rampant in the past Congress-led government and said that any aggression from the Congress could lead to its leaders being booked for corrupt practices, which would be more damaging to the party.