PANAJI: Congress legislator and senior Goa leader Vishwajit Rane has resigned from the party. A short while ago, Mr Rane added deep insult to the Congress’ injury when he walked out of the state assembly before the BJP’s Manohar Parrikar sought and won a vote of confidence.
“I have resigned as MLA. I have also resigned as a member of the Congress party. I am going back to my people for a fresh mandate,” Mr Rane told NDTV, accusing the party of “failing Goa.”
He said he was yet to decide which party he would head to, but did not rule out joining the BJP.
A frontrunner for Chief Minister if the Congress had formed government, Mr Rane has been very upset since the party failed to move quickly enough to win support after election results showed that Goa had given a majority to no party. The Congress won the most seats, 17, but it was the BJP, with only 13 seats, that tapped smaller parties and individual winners to form a coalition and stake claim to run Goa.
A disconsolate Mr Rane – who is the son of five-time Congress chief minister Pratap Rane – has accused the Congress central leader in charge of Goa, Digvijaya Singh, of “mismanagement”.
Mr Rane could not be traced for a while after he walked out of the state assembly today, and the Congress was stumped. “Vishwajeet Rane was with us…He took an oath and everything. But he walked out.,” said the party’s chandrakant kavlekar after the trust vote, adding, “We looked for him in the bathroom etc… have no idea where he is.”
Mr Rane’s presence would not have affected the result of the trust vote; Chief Minister Parrikar sailed through with 22 votes in his favour, one more than he needed in the 40-member house. 16 legislators voted against him, all from the Congress. It would have been 17 had Mr Rane stayed and voted.
This morning as he headed into the Goa assembly, Mr Rane said he would vote for the Congress, stating, “As of now I am with the Congress, why are you asking me anything… I am not the one running the show, I am just an MLA, ask me after the vote.”
Minutes later he had left the Assembly.
Vijay Sardesai, chief of regional party Goa Forward, has alleged that the Congress had attempted to contact him as the party scrambled to ensure a defeat for Mr Parrikar in today’s trust vote.
Digvijaya Singh claimed till last evening that the Congress had the numbers to stall the BJP, but by this morning the party had clearly given up as Mr Sardesai and other allies reconfirmed their allegiance to Mr Parrikar, who resigned as the country’s defence minister earlier this week to return to Goa.