Wednesday , 14 November 2018
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Self-Destructive Intrigues Within Goa Congress

GOA Pradesh Congress Committee President Luizinho Faleiro has urged the party high command to accept his resignation tendered by him almost a year ago. Faleiro’s insistence on quitting comes at a time when the party should have been strategising to contest the two vacancies in the state Assembly as well the seats in the panchayat elections. Faleiro was selected to head GPCC and no one can take away the major share of credit to him for reorganizing the party that was able to raise its tally from 9 in 2012 Assembly elections to 17  in 2017. If the party failed to form government despite emerging as the single largest party it tells a lot about internal intrigues. Ever since then the party high command appears to be in dilemma on the road ahead for the Congress in Goa. It has not been able to end the internal intrigues. There are elements within the party that are in league with ‘outside forces’ that were once in the party but are now with the BJP in the government. They want that the decision making on who should be the leader should be left to them. Both the internal factions of the Congress and the outside forces have been demanding ouster of Luizhino Faleiro. They did not want him as a candidate for chief minister when the party emerged as the single largest party in 2017 elections.

There could be nothing worse for the party than internal fights at a time when it should have fought unitedly against two powerful candidates, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane. The anti-Faleiro groups inside and outside the party are planning to get a man of their choice elected as the successor to him as GPCC chief. It remains to be seen what moves the party high command makes in order to find a suitable successor who is acceptable to all factions. Succumbing to the pressures of the anti-Faleiro group could prove damaging to the party. The party must continue rebuilding itself with an able and younger leader.

Indecisiveness has become the hallmark of the Congress leadership over the past one decade; as a result the party has failed to take concrete steps to deal with the situations at hand and lost opportunities. Besides, it has allowed power brokers within and outside the party to take advantage of its dithering on vital issues. Though it paid heavy price for its dithering, which led to the party cadres being left in lurch and their neglect led to heavy losses in the 2012 Assembly elections, it has not learnt any lessons. Once again power brokers are in the forefront of the party.

Panchayat poll results could influence voting in the upcoming by-elections to the two Assembly constituencies. The Congress should have been working hard to do well in the panchayat elections to create a favourable climate for itself before the by-elections. However, for a faction of the Congress their own state party president appears to be a bigger enemy than the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. It sends wrong signals to the general public that the party continued to be divided and that its leaders were working for their own agenda rather than public good.

It is a well known that the Congress party does not have any base either in Panaji or Valpoi constituencies, which will go to polls soon. While the party has failed to rebuild itself in Panaji, its workers deserted it in Valpoi and sided with Vishwajit Rane, who quit his seat in the Assembly after winning it on Congress ticket and joined the BJP to be part of the government. With no cadres to work with can the Congress manage to wrest the seats from two stalwarts in the political arena? It should have been the singular concern of the party to build cadres but given the fact that different leaders have different ideas that suit their plans nothing has been done to strengthen the party in at least the two constituencies. Factionalism has been the bane of Congress. The party has suffered a lot owing to internal fights. No wonder, the BJP and other parties have the advantage of capitalizing on the weaknesses of the party. Most of the Congress leaders in the state appear to be protecting their own personal enclaves than fighting their political rivals. The infighting and divisiveness within the Congress would lead to its self-destruction unless and until the party high command steps in and tries to settle the issues among the Congress leaders in the state and bring discipline in its
functioning.

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