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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Rahul Gandhi fails to resolve Goa Congress strife

None  Panaji, December 22, 2012
First Published: 21:14 IST(22/12/2012) | Last Updated: 21:16 IST(22/12/2012)

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's one-day visit to Goa failed to resolve bickering within the state Congress after its defeat in the March assembly elections, a party member said.

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"There were charges and counter charges. Rahul Gandhi heard the leaders patiently, but nothing concrete came out of the four to five-hour meeting," an AICC memnber said on the condition of anonymity.

State Congress president Subhash Shirodkar's said that the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary's visit to Goa on Thursday was aimed at "galvanising" the party, which had suffered one of its worst electoral defeats in recent times.

Congress leaders are still smarting from the humiliating loss.

Former public works department (PWD) minister Churchill Alemao, his brother Joaquim (also a minister in the last government) and his daughter had contested on Congress tickets during the March assembly elections.

All of them lost the polls. Now, now Churchill blames his rivals within the party as well as former chief minister Digambar Kamat for his defeat.

"I told Rahul Gandhi that it is because of Digambar Kamat that the Congress has been defected in the assembly elections," he told reporters in Margao on Friday.

Sources in the Congress also said that the meeting with Gandhi had more to do with bickering and bad blood than with any movement towards a constructive mechanism to stem the rot.

Several Congressmen said there was no accountability for the loss in the polls when the Congress was reduced from a strength of 21 to nine in the 40-member assembly.

"He was also here to gauge the effects of the mining ban on the people of Goa. But he did not even visit Goa's mining belt," said a Congress leader, who had joined another national party a few years ago before switching back to his original roots.

Former Congress minister Babu Azgaonkar said: "The discussion was healthy and a lot of issues were cleared."

Goa's massive illegal mining scam, rampant corruption and allotment of 33% of tickets to the kin of Congress leaders are some of the key reasons attributed for the party's loss in the last assembly polls.

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