CATHOLIC: Luizinho Faleiro has been exploiting the fact that he belongs to the Catholic minority community and can manipulate Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi
By Rajan Narayan
In the forthcoming elections all the political parties including Congress and the BJP are fighting amongst themselves. The NGP is trying to form an alliance of defectors and groups like AAP. But since Goans only believe in the TITO kind of parties it is likely to be another unstable kichdi….
ON my birthday July 4, 2021, former chief minister and present Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat called to wish me. Of all the politicians I’m familiar with he was the only one who bothered to call me, although some others sent messages. Which is what makes Digambar different from other politicians. He believes in the personal touch. I asked him what the prospects of the Congress party are in the forthcoming elections?
Both of us agreed that as long as Luizinho Faleiro is in Goa he will not let the Congress form a government. Luizinho is amongst the Congressmen who has always believed in me, myself and let the party go to hell! As we saw after the 2017 elections when with 17 seats the Congress would have formed the government. The Congress was assured of the support of the three member Goa Forward party led by Vijai Sardesai. The condition was that Digambar Kamat should be the chief minister. The High Command observer was Digvijay Singh.
However, Luizinho Faleiro has always been very close to the Sonia Gandhi dynasty including her son the late Rajiv Gandhi and his son Rahul Gandhi. Not because of any great political mass base or qualities. But because of the Catholic factor and Sonia Gandhi has a bias in favour of Catholics. So Catholic politicians in Goa like Eduardo Falerio, former minister of state for banking, have always exploited this weakness of Sonia.
Eduardo Falerio, had the additional advantage that his wife used to teach French to Priyanka and Rahul. So Eduardo Falerio, being close to Sonia and Rajiv, occupied many ministries at the Centre. The junior Faleiro, Luizinho Falerio, followed the example of Eduardo. He made sure he projected himself as the great protector and patron saint of the Catholic community.
WHENEVER Luizinho Faleiro was in New Delhi he made sure that he went to the same church which was patronised by Sonia Gandhi for Sunday mass. When Luizinho Faleiro loss the Assembly elections in Navelim against Churchill Alemao, he was rewarded by Sonia Gandhi with the post of general secretary in the All India Congress Committee. Luizinho devoted himself totally to the seva of Rahul Gandhi. For his services to the Sonia family he was appointed as High Command Observer for the North-East which is predominantly Christian, though not necessarily Catholic.
The Don Bosco order is very active in the North-Eastern states and it also has a Museum of Tribal Art. With his genius for toppling fames, Luizinho Faleiro installed the Congress in power in most of the states in the North-East. I saw how much influence he wielded when I spent a week in Meghalaya which is literally a state in the clouds. Such was his influence that when his daughter got married in Goa all the cardinals and bishops of the North East were present at the wedding reception which happened at the Kesarwal Gardens complex owned by him.
Luizinho told Rahul and Sonia Gandhi that there were cases pending against Digambar Kamat in the Rs35,000 crore mining scam. That since the BJP was in power at the Centre in 2017, they may arrest him if he has made the chief minister. Digvijay Singh, who knew Luizinho’s closeness to the Gandhi family, did not put up any resistance. Which is why the Congress in spite of winning 17 of the 40 seats in the assembly and emerging as the largest single party — could not form the government. The kodel cake was literally snatched away from the lips of the Congress by Nitin Gadkari who flew down over night and persuaded both Goa Forward and MGP to support the BJP.
UNDOUBTEDLY the trump card of the BJP was Manohar Parrikar, who much later on when he was aware that he had pancreatic cancer, did not want the responsibility of being the country’s defence minister and returned to Goa to take back his Goan kodel.
In fact, it is widely claimed that when Narendra Modi was striking the Rafeal aircraft deal with French President Francois Hollande, the late Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was relishing his zitt-koddi in Goa. Now we get news that the Supreme Court of France has started an enquiry into the charges of kickbacks in the Rafeal aircraft deal with India.
THE Congress has never been a united party in Goa. It has been a group of crabs each wanting to pull the other down. Churchill pulled down Rane. Willy pulled down Barbosa. Willy in turn was pulled down by Luizinho. Luzinho in turn was pulled down by Sardinha who had formed the government with the help of Manohar Parrikar. And Parrikar brought the BJP to power for the first time by toppling Francisco Sardinha…many of the Congress MLAs continue to support the BJP which had only three seats than in the Legislative Assembly.
Kon Banega Mukhyamantri? Already the infighting has started between both the Congress and the BJP. Luizinho Faleiro is trying very hard to get Girish Chodankar sacked from the post of president of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee. He wants a job because it is the GPCC president who has an important say in choosing candidates on behalf of the Congress party.
The fighting took a physical turn when supporters of Girish clashed with Luizinho’s supporters in front of the Congress High Command Observer Dinesh Gundu Rao. Luizinho knows that he has no chance of becoming CM again but will not permit anyone else to occupy the kodel.
Luizinho is like the cat which claimed that it had become a sanyasi and was going to Prayag (Varanasi) to atone for his sins. The aging cat which could no longer catch mice put on a saffron robe. The mice thought he had changed. When they went near him he gobbled them up. Similarly, Luizinho even while claiming that he was not interested in the chief minister’s post, is doing his best to sabotage the chances of Digambar.
IN the BJP several senior leaders who had lost the 2017 elections to the Congress have already declared that they will contest the forthcoming Assembly elections. The first to make the announcement was former chief minister, Laxmikant Parsekar, who replaced Parrikar when he moved to Delhi as defence minister. Vinay Dinu Tendulkar has offered to make the sacrifice of resigning his Rajya Sabha seat to contest the 2022 election, which might well be held in late 2021.
Unfortunately for them the BJP High Command has made it clear that no BJP leader can chose himself and that the decision will be made by the Parliamentary Board of the BJP.
The thorn in the flesh of the BJP is Panaji MLA, Babush Monserrate. They don’t want him but they cannot survive without him. This is not a new story as it was Babush who kept Manohar Parrikar in power when his government was toppled in 2002. Babush went to the extent of getting Congress and MGP MLAs to quit and get re-elected on the BJP ticket.
This included Babush himself, Pandurang Madkaikar of Cumberjua and Isidora Fernandes of Canacona. Unfortunately for Parrikar even this was not enough as near the end of his first tenure as chief minister, there was another revolt and this time the shepherd who was supposed to protect the BJP flock from poaching, Digambar Kamat, himself defected and drove to the Ramada Hotel into the waiting arms of Margarat Alva, she was the Congress High Command Observer then and was waiting for him at the gates to welcome him.
WITNESS TO DRAMA
PARRIKAR made a last minute attempt to prevent it as he visited Digambar minutes before he left for the Ramada. I was witness to the entire drama. In the elections held, there was a fight for the chief minister’s post between Rane and Dr Wilfred D’Souza.
As it happened in the past in the case of Rane, with monkeys fighting the sly cat Digambar became chief minister with the support of Avdhoot Timblo who controlled the mining area MLAs.
The only chances of defeating the BJP in the fourth coming elections is an alliance. This has been realized by Sharad Pawar of the NCP, who is willing to give tickets to all the 10 Congress MLAs led by Babush Monserrate, who defected to the BJP when Manohar Parrikar died. But who else will join him? Luizinho Faleiro will not let the Congress align with him. The AAP claims to be very popular among the middle class Goans. But elections in Goa are decided by the migrant and Muslim vote banks and not by the political leaders.
AAP cannot even agree on who should be the Goa convenor. They started with Baba Dinesh Waghela, who was replaced by Elvis Gomes, who has now been replaced by chartered accountant Rahul Mhambre. Then there is a Goenche Avaaz whose leader is Captain Virioto Fernandes and he has announced that he is contesting the Dabolim seats against Mauvin Godhino. It is not clear who has asked him to contest. Then there is a Goa Revolutionary party headed by Manoj Parob who wants to kick all outsiders out of Goa and replace them with people of Goan origin (POGO).
So as it is has always been in Goa there are more candidates then seats and more political parties than aspiring chief ministers. So the only certainty is that the next government will be a khichdi which will last for three months.
It would be appropriate to repeat the Birbal’s khichdi story. Akbar went hunting with Birbal who invited him for dinner. When Akbar reached Birbal’s place he was informed that the cooking pot was close to the roof while the fire was at ground level. Akbar laughed at him and asked, How will the khichdi cook? Birbal told him: Just like he had given a verdict punishing an innocent victim who was two km away from the fire in an incident!