The Congress, which is also referred to as the Grand Old Party, is facing an existential crisis like no other. It has been hit by desertions and is embroiled in a leadership crisis in Punjab where last week Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as the chief minister. On Tuesday, September 28, the party received another shock as Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned from his post.
However, all the drama is not limited to Punjab alone. On Monday, September 27, Luizinho Faleiro, former chief minister of Goa and an MLA, resigned from the Congress. News agency ANI reported that he will join the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata on September 29.
Faleiro is the 13th MLA to leave the party since 2017. He is a seven-term Congress MLA from Navelim in south Goa.
Decline Of The Grand Old Party
The shrink in the number of MLAs in the party has been continuing over the last few years. In the 2017 assembly elections, it had emerged as the single largest party but could not form a government as the BJP, which bagged 13 seats, allied with some independents and regional parties to form the government. Now,
resignation, there are only four MLAs remaining with only six months left for Assembly elections in the state. The situation
is challenging as the four remaining MLAs present a divided house. Pratapsingh Rane, Ravi Naik, and Aleixo Reginald Lourenco are disillusioned with the Congress' leadership in Goa. Moreover, Rane and Naik have sons who are BJP members, which shows the underlying division within the party. The fourth MLA, Digambar Kamat, and Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar claimed that the two leaders had sidelined senior Congressmen.
Arguments Within Party
Faleiro hinted about divisions existing within the party and said in a press conference, "Today, the Congress family is divided and we have to think out of the box and see who is the best suited to face the ruling dispensation in Delhi and Goa." He further added that he has been silent for the last 4.5 years, but now the people of Goa can vote and make the right decision. He said that it is the Congress members in Goa who have destroyed the entire party.
On Monday, September 27, Dinesh Gundu Rao, All India Congress Committee's Goa in-charge, addressed a press meet, where he claimed Faleiro's resignation was a blessing in disguise.
Faleiro was even slammed by Kamat, and several party members for ditching the people of Goa at such a critical time when the Congress is emerging as the main opposition to the BJP in the state. Chodankar asked, "He (Faleiro) speaks of starting a movement in Goa. But, where was he when the Congress was taking up various issues?"
Agnelo Fernandes, a former MLA and Faleiro loyalist, however, said that loyalists in the Congress are being side-lined. "This might lead to a revolt. Anything can happen. If leaders like this are on the side-lines, for how long can you take this humiliation? People of Goa had given a mandate when Luizinho was president of the party. Those people who demanded his resignation in 24 hours have quit the Congress and jond joined the BJP.