Panaji, April 29: Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh was removed as Congress’ Goa in-charge on Sunday. The party has announced A Chellar Kumar, the former Tamil Nadu MLA, as his replacement. The decision to replace Digvijaya was taken nearly a month after the party’s post-poll debacle in Goa, allowing the Bharatiya Janata Party to form government despite winning less number of seats than Congress.
Along with Goa, Digvijaya was also holding the charge of Karnataka. The party has replaced him with K C Venugopal. The state goes to polls next year.
In the recently held Goa assembly elections, Congress emerged as the single largest party, winning 18 out of the 40 seats contested. With three short of majority, the party was expected to gain support from Goa Forward Party, which is ideologically inclined towards the Congress than the BJP. However, it was BJP’s Nitin Gadkari who outsmarted Digvijaya in terms of realpolitik. Despite winning 13 seats, the saffron party formed the government by successfully stitching an alliance with the Goa Forward Party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and two independents.
Senior Goa Congress leader and MLA Vishwajit Rane had quit the party after the elections, citing the “inefficient political skills” of Digvijaya. “Because of people like Digvijaya, Goa has been robbed with its popular mandate. There was no motive, no intention showed whatsoever by Digvijaya to seal the alliance with GFP,” he had said. Rane subsequently joined the BJP.
However, Digvijaya refuted the allegations leveled against him. “The party had assigned me a responsibility. I was fulfilling it in an ethical manner. Congress won the mandate, but lost against the money power used by BJP.” On Rane switching over to Manohar Parrikar’s camp, Digvijaya said, “This was a huge betrayal. He has betrayed not only me and Congress, but the people of Goa. Throughout the campaign trail, he condemned the BJP and Manohar Parrikar, but now he finds solace joining them. There is no place in Congress for such betrayers.”
Reacting to his ouster today, Digvijay Singh said on social media, “I am loyal to the Party and Nehru Gandhi Family and owe my position to the Party and to them (sic).”