Gaurang Prabhu/ Goemkarponn
MARGAO: Salscete is considered the home turf of Congress; however, the party is now struggling in the taluka.
With elections just 6 to 8 months away, the party is struggling to get their act together. Differences between leaders has been the undoing of Congress in Salcete.
In 2017 Congress had won 6 out of 8 constituencies of Salscete, one was won by Goa Forward (Fatorda), and one went to NCP (Benaulim).
But shockingly, three out of six defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), taking their tally in Salcete to just three and five throughout Goa.
Moreover, in the recently held Zilla Parishad, Congress could win just three seats in Salcete.
The indifferences between the Congress leaders were quite visible during both Zilla as well as municipal polls.
While the infightings are visible, the Pradesh Congress Committee maintains it is busy in making Congress strong.
Congress has big senior leaders like Digamber Kamat, Luizinho Faleiro, Francis Sardina, Alex Reginald Lourenco, Alex Sequeira, the present president Girish Chodankar. Still, they failed to work as a team due to the indifferences.
Six months down the line, Goa goes to the polls again, and if the party wants to regain power, they have to win their bastion – Salcete.
Unlike before, Congress today is weak in Fatorda and Benaulim.
Congress had secured good votes in Benaulim Zilla polls, but that was due to the candidate’s charisma and not the party. The party has failed to build booth level committees in Benaulim.
First, the fights were limited to Girish Chodankar and Reginald Lourenco, but now South Goa MP Francisco Sardhina is seen venting ire against Chodankar.
Recently, Sardhina called Chodankar incompetent to hold the president’s post and called for a change in party leadership.
Sardinha also accused Digamber Kamat of supporting Chodankar. Sardinha said that Digambar and Chodankar are running the party without taking seniors into confidence.
The joint decisions of Digambar -Chodankar has let the party down in Zilla polls, he said.
No focus on strengthening booths…
Even with the elections just around the corner, insiders say the party has failed to strengthen the booth-level committees in every constituency.
Also, with many ticket aspirants in every constituency, the morale of the workers is low.
Curtorim MLA Reginald is one leader who claims to be a staunch Congressman but stays away from the party.
He says he is pained because the party leadership has never taken him into confidence or was given a good position for which he has blamed Chodankar.
However, Reginald moving away is a significant loss to Congress. The Curtorim MLA is not interested in party affairs as the leadership is not taking him into confidence.
Sources reveal, Reginald enjoys good relations with BJP leaders and may contest independently with BJP support.
Congress’ other issue is they have failed to ally with like-minded parties.
Alliance talks failed last time; hence the like-minded parties are also in caution mode.
Also, the fact remains, some Congres leaders have a backhand dealing with the BJP.