Luizinho's position under threat

| 05 September 2000 23:01 IST

Goa may be the second state, following West Bengal, to replace the PCC president while the Congress is caught up with fever of organisational elections all over the country.

With a demand coming forth from all the corners within the opposition Congress in Goa, R L Bhatia is arriving here tomorrow to hear the grievances of the partymen, who have complained of irregularities being committed in the election process.

Luizinho Faleiro, the Goa PCC president, has officially announced that the whole election process is being rescheduled in the tourist state, in view of Bhatia's arrival. He is expected to dispose of all the appeals lying before the central election authority.

While the election process was to begin here from 7 September with little postponement due to ongoing Ganesh Chaturthi festival, fresh dates are yet to be announced as Faleiro is facing a serious charge of directly interfering into the election process.

He is charged with not publishing rolls of primary and active members in time and even appointing the block and district returning officers without consulting the district and pradesh committees, in violation of election rules. Some of the Congressmen even doubt the role of pradesh returning officer Blasius D'Souza, appointed centrally.

Though none of the partymen are coming out openly against these irregularities, the resentment got reflected last week when four senior partymen, including former PCC president Shantaram Naik and former MP John Fernandes, publicly countered Faleiro's announcements made after the PCC meeting.

They countered the claim made by Faleiro that the PCC meeting had unanimously passed two resolutions, stating that he should continue in the chair till the election process is over and those who defected from the party should not be readmitted. Faleiro has not reacted to it till date.

But differences within the opposition were visible even when Faleiro was addressing the media after the PCC meeting. Sitting next to him, CLP spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu said that the Congress would not be averse to joining hands with the former partymen to form the government, if they parted away with the BJP.

The Congress, which had emerged victorious in the Assembly polls held last year with Faleiro as the CM, was toppled by Francisco Sardinha (chief minister today), who split the party with 10 others, to form a coalition government with the BJP. Recently, five more Congressmen split the party further, supporting Sardinha.

Incidentally, both these groups had cited Faleiro's dictatorial attitude as the prime reason to leave the party while the same music is played within the party today, with a demand not to hold organisational elections under his leadership.

Faleiro however feels that question of stepping down from the presidentship, owing moral responsibility of two consecutive splits, does not arise since the defectors have left the party for monetary gains and accusation against him is just an excuse.

But the fact cannot be denied that Faleiro, who was made to step down as the CLP leader after his government was toppled in November, is under immense pressure to also step down as the PCC chief, in an attempt to make him totally powerless.

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