Angry over the party’s inability to act fast to secure the support of the regional outfits, several newly elected Congress MLAs in Goa assembly have raised their voices of rebellion against the central leadership.
Accusing the central leadership of not acting fast enough to elect even the leader of the party, at least three MLAs have now threatened to quit the party. Some MLAs had even argued loudly to make their points in the presence of Digvijay Singh.
Vishwajit P Rane, a newly elected MLA and the son of five-time Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane, told NDTV, “I think there was total mismanagement by the leadership… A lot of thoughts are coming in my mind. Sometimes I just feel that I am in the wrong party…There is a lot of pressure on me by all my MLAs supporting me to act but I am only holding back because of my leader Mrs Sonia Gandhi.”
Another MLA, Jennifer Monserrate said, “It is miserable and horrible… people trusted the Congress and voted for us… we get a clear 17 seats and we still couldn’t manage to form government…we are the laughing stock.”
Congress, despite winning the most seats, 17, in the new assembly had wasted time in electing their new leader. It also failed to win over Goa Forward Party, an otherwise its natural ally, which won three seats.
Goa Forward Party has now supported Manohar Parrikar to form the new government, despite the BJP winning only 13 seats.
In contrast to Congress’s alleged lethargy, the BJP had moved swiftly by sending Nitin Gadkari to Goa to take charge of negotiations with the regional parties. Such was the determination of the BJP to form the government in Goa that Gadkari reportedly remained in touch with the party president, Amit Shah, all throughout the night to get the latter’s approval to have two regional parties on board.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Gadkari had said that one of the conditions Goa Forward Party had put forward before joining the coalition was that Manohar Parrikar be made the chief minister. This required the intervention of the central BJP leadership including the Prime Minister as Parrikar held an important portfolio of defence minister at the Centre.
Sources said that Shah chose to do away with the practice of calling the parliamentary party’s meeting and decided in favour of relieving Parrikar of his responsibility as a central minister. He reportedly did so in consultation with the prime minister, who too remained in the loop of the goings on in Goa.
Meanwhile, Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi has been away from social media and has chosen not to make any comments since the assembly results were announced.
Congress has now challenged the Governor’s decision to invite Parrikar to form the government in the Supreme Court, but experts say that this was unlikely to provide any relief to the beleaguered party.