Rahul Gandhi meets state Congress leaders ahead of Goa elections
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met several leaders from Goa Congress in one on one meetings on Thursday to discuss the party’s preparation for upcoming state assembly elections amid an internal friction over leadership of party’s state unit. A senior leader said the one on one meetings allowed the leaders to speak their mind.
“We had one on one meetings with him (Rahul Gandhi) where each one was given an opportunity to speak their minds. I told him what was best for the party and what the party needs to do going forward,” South Goa MP and former chief minister Francisco Sardinha told HT.
Sardinha has in the recent past publicly called for the ouster of incumbent state party president Girish Chodankar saying that he was unable to unite the party and also oversaw party’s poor performance in the local body polls.
“We discussed the political situation in Goa and the strategy to ensure Congress’ victory in the assembly elections,” party observer Dinesh Gundu Rao, said.
Besides Sardinha, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Digambar Kamat, state Congress president Girish Chodankar, MLAs Aleixo Lourenco and Luizinho Faleiro, Ramakant Khalap a former union minister who has given the charge of the party’s coordination committee in the state, was also summoned to Delhi.
Besides the leadership issue, the high command also sought inputs on possible alliances with other regional parties into the polls.
“Thank you @RahulGandhi for your valuable advise (sic) and guidance. We will work unitedly to defeat the communal, unconstitutional and undemocratic forces in Goa in the upcoming assembly elections and ensure victory of @INCGoa,” Kamat tweeted after emerging from the meeting.
The meeting comes barely days after the high command sent several central leaders to the state. After observer Dinesh Gundu Rao who met several leaders during his four days long stay in the state, Dr Shama Mohammed as well as Alka Lamba also visited Goa and gave their feedback on party’s level of preparedness for the upcoming elections.
The Congress which lost 13 MLAs over the last five years to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now also facing a stiff challenge from Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party that has chosen to target what were once Congress strongholds, which is proving to be a problem for the Congress.