Dissent in Congress over slack approach after Goa, Manipur election results

Some Congress leaders believe the party lost the chance to form the government in Goa and Manipur because the central leadership did not act swiftly


Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. The BJP moved swiftly after the election results showed hung assemblies in Goa and Manipur, forging alliances and staking its claim to form coalition governments in the states. Photo: PTI
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. The BJP moved swiftly after the election results showed hung assemblies in Goa and Manipur, forging alliances and staking its claim to form coalition governments in the states. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Resentment is building in the upper echelons of the Indian National Congress, with some leaders believing that the party lost the chance to form the government in Goa and Manipur because its central leadership did not act swiftly.

The party emerged the single largest one, albeit without a clear majority, in the two states. Yet, even as it was mulling its options, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved swiftly, forging alliances and staking its claim to form the government in the two states.

Manipur’s first BJP-led govt to be sworn on Wednesday

With the Congress’ humiliating defeat in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the party ended up with a 1-4 scorecard (it won Punjab) against the BJP, and some its leaders believe it should have been 3-2 in its favour.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi defended the party’s performance and alleged that the BJP was using “money power” to form governments in the two states. “As far as the Congress party is concerned, we do need to make structural and organisational changes and that is a fact...We had a little down in Uttar Pradesh which is fine, we accept it. But we have an ideological fight with the BJP and we will continue to do that,” he told reporters outside Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar took oath as the Goa chief minister even as Manipur chief minister Najma Heptullah invited the BJP to form the government.

Manohar Parrikar sworn in as Goa CM, SC orders floor test on 16 March

A day after at least three Congress MLAs from Goa accused the top leadership of “gross mismanagement” in the post-poll scenario and failing in their responsibility, more voices of dissent came out.

Commenting on Gandhi’s statement on structural and organisational changes, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, chief whip of the party in Rajya Sabha told ANI news agency: “What is the point of raising this issue now. It was not done when it should have happened.”

“We have to take a massive re-look at how things are going. We got outsmarted very quickly in both the states, particularly Goa. The top leadership and those involved in strategizing did not anticipate this would happen and it cost us any advantage that we may have had,” a senior Congress leader aware of developments said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh, the Congress leader who will be sworn in as Punjab chief minister later this week reiterated his view favouring Gandhi’s elevation in the party.

“I will be very happy to see Rahul (Gandhi) on top. I have been saying this for a year now. We are very happy to see Rahul Gandhi be elevated (as Congress President). We will all be very happy.”

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