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Differences in state Cong over ZP polls

Panaji: The North Goa district committee and the frontal organisations of the Congress party have expressed disappointment over the ‘decision’ of its legislature wing to drop the plan of contesting the Zilla Panchayat (ZP) election on party lines.

The ZP election is scheduled to be held on March 22.

Vice president of Congress party’s Goa unit Sankalp Amonkar hit out at Congress Legislature Party leader Digambar Kamat stating that the party organisation is ‘supreme’ and the CLP cannot take any decision unilaterally and go public without having internal discussions with the party.

“We are not saying whether the CLP’s decision is wrong or right, but the manner in which it was announced without consulting and taking the party into confidence was totally wrong. How they can directly go to media,” said Amonkar while interacting with media persons after holding a meeting with the North Goa Congress block presidents and leaders of the frontal organisations in Panaji.

He said that the decision to contest the ZP polls on party lines was proposed and decided by the executive committee, which was chaired by Digambar Kamat and Goa Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar.

“If the CLP wanted to drop the plan to contest the election on party lines then it was their duty to coordinate and convene the executive committee meeting to explain what transpired that changed their mind,” Amonkar said.

Interacting with media persons on February 20, Kamat had said that the MLAs are of the opinion that there is ‘no level playing field’ and the government while carrying out the process of reservations of the seats for OBC or ST may have reserved constituencies where Congress has strong candidates.

“Once the election process starts, there will be no chance; even the court can’t do anything other than admitting our petition. Hence, there is unanimity among the MLAs that without contesting the election on party lines, we should give freedom to ‘karyakartas’ to contest the election and party would back them. This is the decision of the CLP and it would be conveyed to the party president,” Kamat had said.

Amonkar said that the executive committee is the only body that is empowered to take any decision or change any decision on behalf of the party. He said that the party organisation is “not much concerned about winning or losing the elections”. “Our focus should be on creating new and grooming young leaders, as there is a leadership vacuum in the party,” he said.

When asked what will be the future course of action if the executive committee upholds the decision of the CLP, Amonkar said, “Let them make a decision, then we will take our stand. All we know is that if we don’t contest the election on the party symbol then it will have a negative effect on the party.”

Mahila Congress president Pratima Coutinho said that Chodankar and Kamat are answerable to the party workers.

“We were asked to do the homework and identify the probable candidates and suddenly they are saying not to contest on party symbol; it is as if we are running away from the battle. It is better to get defeated rather than give an opportunity to others like Aam Aadmi Party,” said an agitated Coutinho.

It is learnt that the crucial meeting of the Congress’ executive committee has been convened on Monday where the final call on contesting the ZP polls would be taken by the party.

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