Cong desperate to defame BJP

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 27 March 2001 22:43 IST

Taking full benefit of the controversy over tehelka's revelations, the Goa Congress is trying to rejuvenate its tarnished image while attempting to defame the BJP, which is presently in power here.

"We will tell the people that the BJP is a party with a difference as they always claimed and the tehelka tapes have proved it beyond doubt", says Nirmala Sawant, the Goa PCC chief.

Holding party workers' meeting soon after the AICC session in Bangalore, the Congress here has announced public meetings in all 11 talukas, beginning from 31 March, soon after the Assembly session ends. They even plan to get the tehelka tapes and show it at the meetings, besides supplying it to the cable operators.

In addition, says state opposition leader Luizinho Faleiro, the total collapse of the law and order situation in the state has also proved BJP's impotency in running the administration. "The BJP has thus no right to continue in power", he says.

The tiny tourist state is presently rocked with seven dacoities taken place in last two month in six different towns, looting people for over Rs 10 lakh. In spite of police patrolling and nakabandi being intensified, dacoities continue while panic has struck the whole state.

Combining both the issues, the opposition Congress paralysed Assembly proceedings on the first day itself last week, compelling the speaker to suspend opposition members for three days. The suspension was then revoked the next day.

"The dacoities and tehelka has come as a blessing in disguise for us", says a senior Congressman. After its MLAs split into several factions to gain power outside the organisational ambit, the party was desperately waiting for an opportunity to go back to the people, armed with powerful weapons to attack the ruling saffron brigade.

Ruling the state only for four months after gaining absolute majority in June 1999 polls as it got gripped with series of defections, the Congress is still divided into four different factions while one major faction of 10 legislators has joined the BJP to snatch ministerial positions.

Throwing public morality to winds, the Congress has now appealed to its former party colleagues to leave the saffron flag and come back home, obviously to seize the seat of power once again. They have already readmitted five defectors.

Readmission of three more, including former chief minister Francisco Sardinha, is however getting delayed as one of their member - Dayanand Narvekar - has made firm assurance about party ticket a precondition to rejoin the party.

While a faction within the Congress is desperate to 'strengthen' the party once again by readmitting all the detractors, it is obvious that the Congressmen in the BJP would also be wooed to come back, assuring them much more lucrative portfolios.

Mid-term polls thus appear inevitable if the ruling BJP splits as the continuing instability may prompt the centre to dissolve the Assembly. Considering this eventuality, the Congress is thus creating pre-poll atmosphere against the BJP, thanks to tehelka in Delhi and dacoities in Goa - both related to looting of public money.

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