Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik was today appointed the new Congress chief for Goa, replacing Luizinho Faleiro who resigned last month apparently due to factionalism in the state unit. “Congress President Sonia Gandhi has accepted the suggestion to appoint Shantaram L Naik as the president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee in place of Luizinho Faleiro with immediate effect,” a statement from the AICC general secretary, Janardan Dwivedi, said. It said that Naik has been president of the Pradesh Congress Committee earlier also. Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi appointed Pratima Betsy Coutinho as Mahila Congress chief for Goa. “Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who is in-charge of the party’s frontal organisations, has approved the appointment of Pratima Betsy Coutinho as president Goa Pradesh Mahila Congress,” the statement from Dwivedi said. Gandhi also appointed Chitra Sarwara as the in-charge of social media in the All-India Mahila Congress. Naik, whose term as Rajya Sabha member from Goa ends on July 28, will take charge tomorrow.
Talking to PTI, Naik said, “I am happy and grateful to Soniaji and Rahulji for giving me such an important responsibility and I will do my best to serve the post.” Faleiro, who tendered his resignation on June 23, said that he would hand over the charge to Naik tomorrow. “I am thankful to madam and Rahulji for accepting my resignation,” he said. Faleiro, a Congress legislator, had resigned from the post claiming that “some MLAs feel that his continuation was creating hindrance to the formation of party’s government in Goa.”
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The Congress emerged the single largest party in the assembly elections held in February. But it could not form the government despite winning 17 seats in the 40-seat Assembly. The BJP formed government with the support of other parties and Independents. The GPCC, in its newsletter issued yesterday, had claimed that the alliance partners had shown willingness to support Congress with the condition that Faleiro should not be projected as the chief ministerial candidate.
Faleiro is now faced with rebellion from leaders within the party, who blamed him along with former general secretary in-charge Digvijaya Singh, for losing out to the BJP in forming a government, sources said.