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Sonia removes Digvijaya as in-charge of Goa, Karnataka

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |


Several weeks after the Congress party failed to form its government in Goa despite having emerged as the single largest party in the recent assembly elections there, party president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday removed senior leader Digvijaya Singh as the general secretary in charge of Goa and Karnataka affairs.

The Congress-ruled Karnataka is bound for elections in early 2018.

A former two-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Rajya Sabha MP, Digvijaya is known to be a long-standing loyalist of the Sonia Gandhi family. He will continue to be the general secretary in charge of states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.     

Digvijaya's handling of Goa had come in for sharp criticism from within and outside the Congress as he was accused of going slow in reaching out to smaller parties to take them on board before staking claim to form a Congress-led coalition government there.

The Congress had won 17 seats in the 40-member Goa assembly as against 13 of the BJP which managed to mobilise a majority tally with the support of smaller parties to form their coalition government under the BJP leader Manohar Parrikar.

"Congress president Sonia Gandhi has assigned the tasks of looking after Karnataka and Goa affairs to new AICC teams," the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in a statement, adding that K C Venugopal, the senior Kerela MP, has been made general secretary in charge of Karnataka with A Chella Kumar being appointed as the AICC leader in-charge of Goa.

In the wake of the Congress's Goa fiasco, Digvijaya had accused Parrikar and the BJP of having allegedly "stolen" the mandate of people of Goa. He had alleged that the Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, sent to Goa by the BJP president Amit Shah, had indulged in "aggressive MLAs shopping" to enable the BJP to form the

government in the tiny coastal state.

The BJP and Parrikar had rejected these allegations, hitting out at Digvijaya over his "failure" to muster the majority numbers for his party.

"My special thanks to honourable member Digvijaya Singh, who happened to be in Goa but did nothing so that I could form the government," Parrikar had reportedly told Rajya Sabha later while taking a swipe at Digvijaya.