Back in Panaji, party leaders blame delay by Digvijaya Singh

“Our general secretary (Singh) said there was no need to give a letter, because, as the single largest party, the Governor would call us.” Faleiro said

Written by Smita Nair | Panaji | Updated: March 18, 2017 7:15 am
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh with Luizinho Faleiro at Congress House in Panjim. Express Photo/ Nirmal Harindran

While the Congress leadership in the national capital remained busy with alleged “Constitutional impropriety” of Goa Governor Mridula Sinha both in the House and outside it, and urged President Pranab Mukherjee to dismiss her for “dereliction of duty”, in Goa, the hurt still fresh, party MLAs are now deciding for themselves.

Having already expressed displeasure over the manner in which the Congress central leadership delayed sending a letter staking a claim, Luizinho Faleiro, the party’s Goa unit president and MLA from Navelim segment, on Friday blamed Digvijaya Singh for the failure. Stating that they were ready to go to the Governor’s house after the results were announced, Faleiro, a former CM, said, “Our general secretary (Singh) said there was no need to give a letter, because, as the single largest party, the Governor would call us.”

Senior Congress MLAs have now decided to “keep the doors open” to “any MLA who wants to join Congress”. A senior party leader (name withheld on request) said, “The calls are still fresh. If the BJP can play dirty, we have decided so can we. We have decided in a meeting today that we are willing to give even the chief minister’s seat if we manage the numbers. Some BJP MLAs (are) upset with majority of seats in the Cabinet being given to non-BJP MLAs, (and) have started calling us.”

The leader confirmed that Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane were vocal about the delay in joining hands with Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, which they believe cost the party dear. BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar on Friday filed a complaint at Panaji Police Station against Congress leader Girish Chodankar for making defamatory statements against the BJP, and accusing it of corrupt practices to form the government.

Earlier in the day, Manohar Parrikar stressed that the coalition government is “very much functional”. Following his first Cabinet meeting, Parrikar called the budget and immediate allocation a priority for his government, and said that ministries will be in place by Monday.

In Delhi, the Congress mentioned Goa Governor Sinha’s interview to a newspaper, which had quoted her saying that she had consulted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before inviting the BJP, to seek her dismissal. “We urge the President to exercise his powers under Article 156 (1) and immediately dismiss the Governor of Goa for abdicating her Constitutional responsibilities and oath of secrecy,” Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa said.

He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should act against Jaitley for having purportedly advised Sinha on government formation, a subject not in his ambit of power and responsibilities.
(With inputs from ENS, Delhi)

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