The statement by Digvijay Singh that cost Congress one MLA in Goa

The Goa Congress, led by their central leader Digvijay Singh, made a hue and cry over the formation of the BJP led Government in Goa. They even went to the Supreme Court to stall the process but in turn were rapped hard by the apex court. The Court advanced the date of the trust vote, thereby leaving Congress with little time to convince regional parties to jump ship.

The trust vote took place yesterday and the BJP led Government won by 22 votes to 16 votes, in a 40 member assembly. One vote belonged to the speaker, which would take the BJP’s tally to 23. Still, one vote was missing. The Congress which had 17 elected MLAs, could manage only 16 votes, because at the last moment, in spite of signing the party whip, MLA Vishwajeet Rane disappeared.

Congress Legislative Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar tried to put up a brave face, but ended up making a mockery of things:

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Later it was reported that Rane had quit the party. The larger reason for Rane quitting the party is obviously the fact that the Congress, despite being the single largest party, could not cobble up a Government. He had earlier blamed the central leaders like Digvijay Singh for this failure of the Congress party.

But if one were to see his statements as reported by the local press today, one may find out the exact straw which broke the camel’s back. According to reports in local media, Vishwajeet Rane claims to have taken the decision to abstain from voting because of a particular statement by Digvijay Singh:

With dissent in the party increasing prior to the trust vote, Digvijay Singh, instead of being on the back-foot and placating ruffled feathers, had stated that Viswajeet Rane had met up with Parrikar over coffee, and hence he was speaking against the party. Rane claims, this statement hurt him, which is why he chose to abstain from voting, defying the party whip. This action made him eligible for disqualification, but since he himself resigned, any proceedings against him will be irrelevant.

Whether Rane met up with Parrikar is open to discussion, but this episode brings to fore the utter mismanagement of Digvijay Singh. At a time when his party is low on morale, has been out-foxed by the BJP, and is rumoured to be heading for a split, instead of consolidating the divided opinions, Digvijay chose to further increase the animosity. A leader is expected to maturely respond to his own MLAs who are unhappy, instead Singh chose to slug it out in public.

Further, Rane is no ordinary turn-coat Congress MLA. He is a former Congress Minister and most importantly son of a the senior most Congress MLA and former CM Pratapsingh Rane. Alleging that such a staunchly Congress leader, is hand in glove with the BJP, was a very petulant statement by Digvijay. That too when the MLA had not yet quit.

The result is there for all to see. In a huge embarrassment to the Congress, far from luring others to join them, the Goa Congress could not even manage to keep its own flock intact. The Congress is now down to 16 MLAs and if rumours are to be believed, the exodus has just begun.

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