Panaji, July 27: Goa Youth Congress president Valanka Alemao, suspended for indiscipline Saturday, Sunday accused top party officials of harassment and AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh of coercing her to quit the post. Claiming that she was verbally abused by state party chief John Fernandes, Valanka Alemao sought “justice” from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and highlighted what she portrayed as the Congress party’s hypocrisy in claiming to empower women and sacking the only woman Youth Congress state president in the country.
A Congress spokesperson, speaking on behalf of Fernandes, dismissed hee claims, calling them an attempt to get “cheap publicity”, and has demanded that she apologize to Digvijaya Singh, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in Goa, for her remarks against him. “Digvijaya Singh is the one who was like my mentor and said that we want people like you to come ahead and today Digvijaya Singh himself is telling me… if you resign it is good for your future or else you watch what is going to happen. I really don’t know what to say,” Valanka told reporters.
Valanka, daughter of former chief minister Churchill Alemao, was appointed state Youth Congress chief in August last year. But the role of the father-daughter duo came under cloud during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Churchill Alemao quit the party and contested as a rebel candidate from South Goa, damaging the chances of official Congress’ candidate Aleixo Reginaldo. Valanka Alemao was also accused of not campaigning for Reginaldo.
Valanka now claims that she was also subjected to abusive language by state Congress cheif John Fernandes when they both went to meet veteran Congress leader A.K. Antony in New Delhi. “When he (Fernandes) was sitting outside A.K. Antony’s office, he (Fernandes) and the South Goa MP candidate, Aleixo Reginaldo, were using words like… very abusive language. I can’t even use such terminology on national television,” Valanka said.
The party’s official spokesperson Durgadas Kamat has called the charges “baseless”. “The suspended person should clarify when John Fernandes and Reginaldo Lourenco met her to abuse her verbally. She should give a time, date of meeting and the place where she was (verbally) abused,” Kamat told IANS. Defending Digvijaya Singh, Kamat said the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister was a statesman and known for decency in political life.
“We condemn such baseless allegations about our national leader. These charges against all three of them should be proved or else a public apology should be given,” Kamat said. Valanka on the other hand has lobbed the ball in the court of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi. “I expect my party High Command, especially Sonia Gandhi, to take up for a woman like me who looks up to her. I expect Rahul Gandhi to look into the matter. If action is not taken against these people, then I am not one of those kind who will keep quiet.” Valanka said, threatening to file a complaint against the harassment meted out to her.