When leaders land in ‘no man’s land’


Finally, the dust has settled over the Curtorim seat. The 5th list of the Congress party named Moreno Rebello as the party nominee for the constituency ending speculation that former MLA Aleixo Reginaldo may make a re-entry. Soon after realizing that he has run out of options, Reginaldo announced his candidature as an Independent candidate.

Despite the acrimony within the Congress and spells of uncertainty, the party high command has deviated from the past by rewarding loyal party workers and refused to be swayed by the winnability quotient. In this regard, Curtorim is a classic case. The constituency has been a nightmare for the grand old party ever since Reginaldo quit and joined the Trinamool Congress, or even before that when strong contender Moreno switched over to the BJP sensing that he would not be in contention for a Congress ticket. That he was promptly readmitted is a different story.

Politics make strange bedfellows and political interests sometimes bring together people and leaders who share nothing in common. The run-up to the Goa election has shown that ideologies and affiliations don't matter in the larger scheme of things. Political ambitions outweigh other priorities. If the bonhomie between BJP and Reginaldo was considered a thing of the past, his hobnobbing with the Aam Aadmi Party and joining of Trinamool Congress indicated that the former Curtorim legislator was looking at alternatives.

Reginaldo’s series of U-turns in the name of people’s welfare and the supreme ambition of defeating the BJP only goes to highlight that he was invariably driven by a selfish agenda. Surprisingly, he was eyeing Congress again, a party which he accused of not giving him attention. Now that he has announced himself as an Independent candidate, he will have to prove himself and win the confidence of the electorate. It is to be seen if the very people that Reginaldo was quoting in his rejoinders will drive this change.

If Reginaldo was a confused figure in Curtorim, Luizinho Faleiro is another bewildered leader in the Fatorda constituency. On Tuesday, Trinamool Congress threw in a big surprise in its list of candidates fielding Faleiro against Goa Forward supremo Vijai Sardesai. Incidentally, speculations are rife that the decision has not gone down well with Faleiro. But, didn’t we hear Faleiro speak about taking up any responsibility given to him by the party high command?

On the flip side, the TMC’s Fatorda move has thrown a haze over the party’s ambitions because it could prove to be counterproductive in the larger political equation. A Faleiro-Sardesai contest would mean division of secular votes, conceding the advantage to the BJP candidate. Given the talk of fighting a common enemy, we wonder what purpose the Fatorda experiment would serve the TMC.

While this high-stakes election has seen an unprecedented movement of political leaders across ideologies and party lines, it has also thrown up inexplicable surprises.  It now remains to be seen how leaders who fall out of favour position themselves as parties close their line-ups.

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