As Nitin Gadkari and BJP were seen to be having the last laugh in Panaji newly elected legislators of the Congress were upset and angry with senior leader Digvijaya Singh. They were heard arguing loudly while Singh tried to calm them down. The legislators are frustrated that the Congress general secretary in charge of Goa, i.e. Digvijay, did not act fast enough to rope in the support of regional parties to add just four seats that the party needed to form government. At least three legislators or MLAs have reportedly threatened to quit the party accusing “seniors” of mismanagement.
In election results announced on the weekend, the Congress had won the most seats, 17, leaving it just 3 short of the half way mark and 4 short of a majority. In the time taken by the party to select a new leader, the BJP, with 13 seats, had moved very fast to negotiate with and secure the support of smaller parties and independents to stake claim to form government. What is adding to their frustration is that what BJP was doing was not a secret from anybody yet Digvijay did not pay heed.
The Congress meanwhile has moved the Supreme Court against Governor Mridula Sinha inviting the BJP first but its legislators are in private comparing Digvijaya Singh to union Minister Nitin Gadkari, the BJP’s national leader in-charge of Goa, unfavourably.
Vishwajit P Rane, Congress MLA and the leader of opposition in the outgoing Goa assembly said “I think there was total mismanagement by the leadership”. He even said ” some leaders acted foolishly”. Rane, who was seen as a front runner for Chief Ministership, asserted that the people had given the Congress the mandate to form the government, but the party squandered the opportunity .
He had stormed out of a Congress legislature meeting and has hinted he is contemplating quitting the party. “A lot of thoughts are coming in my mind. Sometimes I just feel that I am in the wrong party,” said Mr Rane, who is the son of Goa’s five-time Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane. “There is a lot of pressure on me by all my MLAs supporting me to act but I am only holding back because of my leader Mrs Sonia Gandhi,” he added.
Another Congress legislator Jennifer Monserrate said, “It is miserable and horrible… people trusted the Congress and voted for us… we get a clear 17 seats and we still couldn’t manage to form government…we are the laughing stock.”
Digvijaya Singh has said he will meet the governor today. “The normal convention allows the single largest party to be invited first… the Governor should have followed this procedure,” he said, confident that the disquiet among the party’s MLAs would be “sorted out.”
Mr Singh said the Congress wants an opportunity to prove on the floor of the assembly that it has majority support in Goa.