No losing fight, even if Cong loses power

| 24 August 1998 22:15 IST

After losing power in the tourist state, Goa Congress leaders are presently busy fighting over the issue of leadership, meaning the post of the opposition leader.

It is a direct tussle between former chief minister Pratapsing Rane and Luizinho Faleiro, the industries minister in his erstwhile cabinet.

Speaker Tomazinho Cardoz in the meanwhile has already notified Rane as the new opposition leader, while R L Bhatia, the high command observer, is down in Goa to resolve the issue.

In the bargain, Goa PCC chief Shantaram Naik has also come under fire for sending an official letter to the speaker, stating that Rane continues to be the CLP leader.

"I have not sent any letter to the speaker till date", says party whip Krishna Kuttikar, who claims that the letter has to be officially sent by the whip and not the president. Naik however justifies his action stating that the letter was sent to the speaker to fulfil the legal requirement since the session would be convened any moment to take up confidence motion of the new coalition government led by Dr Wilfred de Souza.

"Our government collapsed because a breakaway group revolted against Rane's autocratic leadership. How is it justified to continue him in such a situation", asks one MLA. The demand for the leadership change is building very fast among the frustrated partymen.

Faleiro, who has reportedly mobilised enough number of legislators as well as the party office bearers on his side, has also pushed for demand to dethrone Naik from the president's post.

Bhatia, who arrived today morning to resolve the leadership tussle, addressed the CLP meeting after which he has begun meeting the legislators as well as the office bearers individually. He is expected to fly back to Delhi tomorrow after addressing the party workers at Hotel Cidade de Goa here.

The Rane camp however is fully banking upon the appeal he has made in the supreme court against high court's order to reject his petition, which had challenged the governor's order to dismiss the Congress government.

While the high command is being requested to continue Rane in the leadership till the case is disposed, the Faleiro camp alleges that the appeal is just an eyewash so that Rane continues as the leader.

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