A section of the Congress in Goa is desperately making a bid to hold on to power, even as the outgoing Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Girish Chodankar was forced out of his comfortable chair. And the man that this group led by Chodankar is pushing forward to lead the GPCC is Mormugao MLA and GPCC Vice President Sankalp Amonkar. A move that won’t change Goa Congress’ abysmal status quo.
As AICC President Sonia Gandhi’s special emissary and observer Rajani Patil took an objective assessment of what went wrong with the Congress in the recently concluded Assembly polls and who were the culprits, she also was on the lookout for any hope, any spark left in the ageing GOP in Goa. Even as she witnessed the clamour for infusing Congress in Goa with more aggressive, grassroots and committed new leadership is growing up within the Congress party and its supporters, the backstage moves of disgraced leaders, including Chodankar, former CM Digambar Kamat, would have been quite visible as hordes of party workers and self-assumed leaders who were missing during election campaign swamped her meetings in North and South Goa. What was at play were the remaining vestiges of the conspiring, conniving and self-destructing self-proclaimed, ‘High Command’ favourites of the local Congress who were asserting themselves for a re-takeover the beleaguered Congress. And the diehard romantics and is worrying long term loyalists are worried.
From Goenkar to Delliwallahs, Everybody Knows
“Isn’t the party aware that it was Sankalp Amonkar’s sting video that cost us Velim and Navelim seats where we were front runners?”, asks an old-timer Congress supporter. Scratch the surface and Amonkar’s cold and calculated promise of taking a few MLAs with former CLP leader Digambar Kamat’s concurrence does not seem a fake video and the damage to two other seats was visible. The Mormugao MLA’s volte-face on coal when even Rahul Gandhi had promised not to let Goa become a coal hub, proves beyond doubt that even the Indian Youth Congress candidates fielded by Indian National Congress in Goa have a selfish agenda of their own.
AICC leaders who had visited the state in the run-up to polls had pointed out that it was not enough to single out the party seniors of having let Congress down even the Youth Congress leaders who had been elevated ever since Girish Chodankar took the job have not done much about rebuilding the party at grassroots. “Sankalp was given the task of rebuilding Congress across the four Assembly seats of Mormugao but he never went to even attend block-level meetings in the three constituencies outside his constituency and as a result, BJP and its allies won” point out AICC sources.
Will the Party wake-up to smell the Stink?
Goa Congress’ leadership crisis could well define the traditional standoff between the entitled and the doers in the party. While Chodankar’s choice of leaders and candidates were weird and clueless, his term witnessed the GPCC being recast thrice, many blocks being recast more than twice as a coterie around him consisting of Sankalp, Canacona candidate Janardhan Bhandari, Media Chief Amarnath Panjikar and others would hog media more than being on the ground leading huge hordes of traditional Congress leaders and workers leaving for Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party amongst others. This absence of grassroots workers had also led to traditional (read: silent) Congress voters drifting towards Revolutionary Goans Party. The RGP not just eroded Congress vote base across Goa but even led to Congress missing a victory in almost a dozen seats. Surprisingly, Sankalp’s Mormugao constituency was the poorest showing for RGP.
With GPCC being headless and rudderless over the past week, the signs are telling as the older generation of Congress leaders is exerting themselves. Will the new faced party then revert to its archaic old ways of imploding within?