Faced with severe criticism of his handling of the Goa elections, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Friday hit back, saying his proposal for a pre-poll alliance with the Goa Forward Party was “sabotaged” by his own leaders.
Singh said it was unfair that he was now being made out to be a “villain” for had the alliance gone through, the Congress would have got a majority in the state.
The Congress’ Goa in-charge, Singh has come under fire from within the party and from allies for reacting too late in approaching the smaller parties and Independents after the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 17 MLAs in the 40-member assembly.
The Goa Forward Party, with its three MLAs, joined a coalition stitched together by the BJP, which won 13 seats. Manohar Parrikar was sworn in as chief minister on Thursday, as the head of an alliance government that also comprises the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Independents.
“As a strategy, I had proposed a secular alliance with the regional party headed by Babush Monserratte and Goa Forward headed by Vijai Sardesai,” Singh said in a series of tweets.
The Congress had supported Atanasio (Babush) Monserratte’s United Goan Party in Panaji constituency and given tickets to four of his supporters.
“Goa Forward won 3 out of 4 (seats) they contested. Had our alliance with Goa Forward gone through we would have been 22,” he said in another tweet.
“Still Digvijaya guilty? I leave it to you to judge,” the senior Congress leader said.
He said that while the Congress is being blamed for deciding late on its legislative party leader in Goa, the BJP is yet to decide its leader in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. “Congress was blamed for being late in deciding its Leader. BJP yet to decide leader in UP and Uttarakhand. Results came on 11th evening,” Digvijaya said.
He said the Congress legislative party leader for Punjab was decided on March 13 and for Manipur and Goa on March 12. “In Manipur there was a sitting Chief Minister in Goa 4 Ex CM got elected as MLAs but we chose the leader on 12th,” Singh said defending himself.
“Letter to Governor goes after the leader is chosen, which we did but the Governor took the decision before that,” he said.
Singh said that when took charge in Goa, the organisation was in a disarray. “When I and Chella Kumar (AICC Secretary) took charge of Goa in 2013 out of 9 Congress MLAs only six were active (and) the whole organisation was in a disarray,” he said. “Even Congress leaders were predicting 2-4 seats (in Goa polls) for Congress,” he said in another tweet.
On Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane’s resignation, Singh accused him of having a liaison with Parrikar.
“Who was most vocal in criticising Congress observer in Goa. Vishwajit Rane,” tweeted Singh. “What was he doing when CLP leader was being chosen? Having coffee with Parrikar in a hotel when we were choosing CLP leader.”
Rane resigned on Thursday as member of the Goa Legislative Assembly and also quit the Congress after abstaining from the floor test. The 45-year-old did not rule out the possibility of joining BJP, saying “all options are open”.
Rane, son of Congress veteran and former chief minister Pratap Sinh Rane, said he was upset with the party leadership as it failed to form the government in Goa despite people giving it a mandate in the Assembly polls.