On a day it suffered a severe setback with one of its top State leaders and legislator Luizinho Faleiro quitting after an association that spans over three decades, the Congress' Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao trained his guns on the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the party the veteran leader is expected to join shortly.
At a press conference he addressed at the GPCC headquarters in the capital city Rao said, "Suddenly coming here and poaching and hijacking leaders from other political parties is not a good thing for the culture of Goa and healthy democracy. What TMC is doing is not in the political or developmental interest of Goa.” he said.
Rao who has been in the forefront of the Congress' preparations for the 2022 polls for over a year regularly visiting the State and hand-holding organisation re-builiding down to the block level, said, "a political party has to be built from the grassroots."
"It was known to us and it was not a surprise. Besides Faleiro, some of his close associates may also quit the Congress. We knew about this development around 15 days ago. We have to see what developments take place now," said Rao
Asked to comment about Faleiro’s exit and the entry of former MLA Avertano Furtado, Rao said the Congress had many options in every constituency.
"There are a lot of aspirants in Congress and we only have to select the best. I cannot talk about any particular person but definitely, we will have a survey and take proper feedback and this will happen within a month, before we can finalise a candidate.”
“Many have already joined the Congress and many will join in future also because the Congress is a very strong party in Goa. Some people may have taken the decision to leave the party for their personal agenda and benefits, but I will address these issues later," said Rao.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president, Girish Chodankar who flanked Rao at the press conference, and was a protege of Faleiro lamented that he quit the Congress when he was required the most.
"Faleiro has quit the party when he was required the most to fight BJP in the State," Chodankar said, adding that the Goan will never forgive him for this decision.
Chodankar was more forthright in his criticism of Faleiro's move saying: “He has negotiated his retirement plan but he should have done it before or after elections. At least not after enjoying all top posts in the Congress.”
Rao on his part was more guarded in his targeting of Faleiro and sought to play down the impact on the party with his departure.
He said he had received several reports in Navelim that he had lost touch with the people and that there were several negative reports about him.
The AICC Goa desk in-charge also said that the party has several options for candidature in Navelim and hit out at those deserting the party saying that they do so for personal agendas and benefits.