GPCC must have a new look
The Congress party’s decision to identify a successor to Goa Pradesh Congress Party President Subash Shirodkar is in keeping with the party’s plan to refurbish its battered image. It is good thinking that party leaders have decided to do this exercise at this stage, although the first thing that they ought to have done was for the old team to gracefully own up responsibility for the party’s electoral defeat and quit, en masse. That would have kept their honour intact, and set healthy democratic tradition in our society. Unfortunately, that did not happen. It is no use doing surgery at the hand alone when the rot had begun from the head. There has to be some change at the AICC level also on the charge of Goa Affairs. Strangely, the party sat over the election outcome, for months, even on planning an introspection meeting.
Now that the hunt for the next GPCC President is on, it appears to be a good omen that the choice of choosing the coveted leader is easier from those shortlisted, unlike the battery of aspirants which normally clamour for the Chief Minister’s post. Even a better omen is the fact that the party has realized that in order to improve its public image, it has to stop projecting the veterans, who like fattened calf, are primarily responsible for the Congress biting dust.
The names doing the rounds include Ramakant Khalap, Jitendra Deshprabhu, Francisco Sardinha, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and Surendra Furtado — the last, of course, a long-time veteran as a corporator of the Corporation of the City of Panjim. What has stunned the Congress was its defeat in its traditional bastions inhabited predominantly by the Catholics and therefore now the party reportedly seeks to project a Catholic face as its President.
The defeat cannot be attributed to the lack of Catholic dominance in the party. What really upset the electorate was the manner they were taken for granted. Surely Ramakant Khalap a long time veteran of the MGP, now of course, a Congressman may not be acceptable as Party President, if people of all communities are to be expected to be with the Congress. The Marathi tag attached to him is just the tip of the iceberg and there are often questions raised over his role in Mapusa Urban Cooperative Bank of Goa.
Jitendra Deshprabhu is equally weak, after a chargesheet was filed against him for his misdemeanors in mining. Then, there is former Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha, who has not had a too controversial tenure in politics, but being preoccupied as the Chairman of the Estimates Committee of the Lok Sabha, a post which has the rank of minister of state, he is unlikely to prefer the GPCC post. Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginald Lourenco, a new face in politics, is reportedly vying for the post of Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. That leaves Surendra Furatdo with the brightest chances of being appointed as the ideal candidate for the post. Furtado has been in public life for over two decades and apart from having a clean image, he has regularly projected issues close to Goans. This, despite the fact that he has been only a Corporator. He seems to have his heart and sentiments for Goa. Here is a new face, relatively young, capable of striking a chord with the youth of the State, on whom the party may have to lean to reclaim its lost glory.