High drama in Goa, Congress bigwigs slug it out

Panaji: Ridden by chronic in-fighting and corruption, the Congress in Goa is threatening to dish out more drama than the popular, slapstick Konkani ‘tiatr’ (theatre), after its outgoing president accused his successor of being a puppet, propped up by tainted party veterans in league with the BJP.

While internal rifts between the party leadership had sparked fears of an implosion, a sudden feud between outgoing president John Fernandes and the new appointee Luizinho Faleiro is taking the shape of a mega battle, if utterances by them this week are any indication.

Appointed at the instance of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi 10 months ago, Fernandes claimed that he was dethroned because he was getting under the skin of the corrupt leaders in the Goa Congress.

“Allies of (Chief Minister Manohar) Parrikar in the Congress were employed to hasten my removal. There is enough circumstantial evidence that Parrikar colluded with corrupt Congressmen to take control,” Fernandes told IANS.

Asked if he would meet Fernandes in the light of the allegations made by him, Faleiro said with a boisterous laugh: “He is a Congressman. I will invite him. I would like to find out what he has said.”

In a press statement issued by party spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar late Thursday, the Congress rejected the accusations by Fernandes and condemned his comments.

Faleiro, however, said it was time for Congress leaders in Goa to introspect why the party had fallen from favour and that his appointment was an “eloquent testimony of our failure to produce young dynamic leaders in the state of Goa”.

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