New Delhi, April 29: Nearly a month after Congress’ post-poll fiasco in Goa, the party decided to remove Digvijaya Singh as the in-charge of the coastal state. The veteran leader has also been relieved of the responsibility of overseeing the party affairs in Karnataka. The decision was taken nearly a month after Goa Congress leaders expressed dissent against Digvijaya, accusing him of adopting inaction after the election results were out.
After being dropped as the Congress in-charge of the two states, Digvijaya said, “I am loyal to the party and Nehru Gandhi Family and owe my position to the party and to them.”
Digvijaya has been replaced by A Chella Kumar, the former Congress MLA from Tamil Nadu, as the party in-charge of Goa. For Karnataka, Allapuzha MP K C Venugopal was announced as his replacement. The decision was approved by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
- The demand to replace Digvijaya was raised by Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Luizinho Faleiro, who blamed the former Madhya Pradesh CM of failing to discharge his duties after the poll results were out. In his plea addressed to Sonia Gandhi, Faleiro demanded the replacement of Digvijaya at the earliest.
- Faleiro accused Digvijaya of instructing the elected MLAs to wait for the Governor’s call, rather than reaching out to display their electoral strength. “I had a letter drafted for the Governor to inform her that we would be staking claim to form the government but I was told by Digvijaya Singh to wait,” he said.
- Similar allegations were leveled by Congress turncoat Vishwajit Rane, who switched to BJP after the poll results. According to Rane, Digvijaya adopted inaction which allowed BJP to play the Manohar Parrikar card and stitch a paper-tight alliance to form the government.
- “Goa was robbed of its political mandate. The state leaders were not considered to take decisions. The high command had utmost faith in Digvijaya. The result is before us – Goa was robbed of its popular mandate,” Rane had said.
- In the assembly elections, Congress had won 18 out of 40 seats, three short of majority. BJP was the first runner-up, winning 13 seats. However, the saffron party ended up forming the government by entering into a post-poll alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Goa Forward Party (GFP) and two independents.
- BJP’s Goa in-charge, Nitin Gadkari, was hailed by analysts for his realpolitik skills. The party succeeded in bringing into its fold the GFP, which is ideologically inclined towards the Congress.
- Taking a jibe at Digvijaya, newly appointed Goa CM Manohar Parrikar said, “I thank honourable Digvijaya Singh, who had been in Goa but did nothing so that I could form government in the state.”
- However, Digvijaya strongly refuted the allegations of adopting inaction. The Rajya Sabha MP says he entered into negotiations with potential allies in accordance with the ethical and ideological grounds of Congress.
- According to Digvijaya, the popular mandate of Goa was not stolen away “due to my inaction, but the money power blatantly used by BJP.”
- Retaliating to Manohar Parrikar’s ‘thank you’ remark, Digvijaya had said, “If you should thank someone, then it should be Nitin Gadkari ji for his aggressive MLA shopping.” Digvijaya also lashed out at Congress rebel Rane, calling him a ‘betrayer’ who decided to align with the BJP, despite campaigning against the corruption and communalism under the Parrikar-Parsekar regime.