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Goa Debacle Reveals The Rot Within Congress

Sutanu Guru analyses how the Congress is now converting possible victories to humiliating defeats

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For all those bleating about morals, ethics and what not with relation to the BJP "hijacking" the mandate in Goa, take a chill pill and swallow a dose of reality. First, politics is first and foremost about winning power; morals come a distant second. Second, no political party in India- and that includes Congress, BJP and regional parties- can claim to adhere honestly to morals and principles. The manner in which the Supreme Court has mocked and slammed the Congress ( it filed an urgent petition there to stop the swearing in of Manohar Parrikar as chief minister) is indicative of how the "morality" card doesn't work here. According to social media posts coming out from the Court hearing, it seems the utter and degrading humiliation of the Congress is complete. Manohar Parrikar now has till March 16 to prove his majority in the new assembly.

By all yardsticks, the BJP lost the mandate in Goa. For one, it slipped from 22 seats it won in 2012 to 13 this time. Besides, the sitting chief minister of the BJP Laxmikant Parsekar along with a host of ministers lost their seats. Sure the BJP garnered a higher vote share than the Congress. But in a first past the post system, it is the number of seats and not vote share that really matters. In contrast , the Congress won 17 seats. Another party the Goa Forward Party which is a Congress breakaway won three seats. Churchill Alemao, a colorful Goa politician who is currently with the NCP could have easily carried the Congress past the half way mark in an assembly of 40. For the Congress in another era, this should have been a cake walk or a walk in the park.

And yet, it is the BJP which cobbled up the "support" of nine other MLAS, paraded a total of 22 MLAs and for the invitation from the Governor. How did this happen? Well, Congress leader Digvijay Singh met newly elected Congress MLAs the day election results became clear by late evening on March, 11. Predictably, there was bickering as there were many contenders for the top post. Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari flew down there and spent the entire night persuading smaller regional parties and independents to support the BJP. The main "demand" of the others was that defence minister Manohar Parrikar must come back as Goa chief minister. Gadkari spoke to Parrikar, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi and the deal was sealed by early morning on March 12.

All the while, Digvijay Singh and the Congress MLAs were either sleeping or making failed attempts to contact the Congress "High Command"- read Rahul Gandhi. By the time Singh could even wake up to reality, it was too late. Worse, Congress MLAs of Goa have been openly slamming Singh and top party leaders for letting them down. Don't be surprised if many of them break away from their own party in the near future. The most hilarious scene was a Goa Congress leader slamming a Delhi Congress leader on live TV.

Is this how Rahul Gandhi plans to fight in 2019.