“As I stood for election to the Goa Legislative Assembly for the first time, my only political capital was my sincerity, my immense desire to be of use to my constituents, to succeed in an endeavour which somehow eluded my predecessors, powerful men as they may have been.”
Luizinho Faleiro served as 13th Chief Minister of Goa, the 10th, since Goa became a State within the Indian Federation and has been elected Member of Legislative Assembly from Goa’s Navelim Constituency for the seventh time in 2017. On the national stage, he was member of the Congress Working Committee –the highest decision making body of the Indian National Congress. In 2007, Luizinho Faleiro was appointed General Secretary AICC, In-charge of North Eastern States. On 21st August 2018, Luizinho Faleiro was reappointed General Secretary AICC, In-charge of North Eastern States.
GOAN LEADER WITH NATIONAL STATURE: (L) Shri Luizinho Faleiro interacting with Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi at Dabolim Goa in 1999; and (R) with then Congress Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi in Tripura March 2013.
He was charged with important positions within Indian National Congress, as a Reliable General and Dependable leader of the party:
- General Secretary All India Congress Committee (2007-2014)
- In-charge of the North Eastern States of Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura (2007 and 2018), where Congress party won the Elections and installed governments twice in Meghalaya, twice in Arunachal Pradesh, twice in Mizoram and once in Manipur;
- Chairman of the Karnataka Pradesh Assembly Elections Screening Committee (2013), following which the Congress won the Karnataka Assembly Elections.
- After successfully steering the Congress party to power in many Indian States, Luizinho was assigned with the special responsibility by the Central Congress leadership, to revive the fortunes of the Congress party in his own state –Goa. And he did not fail to deliver, as he had done in the North East & Karnataka. Under his stewardship the number of Congress MLAs swelled from 9 in 2012, to 17 MLAs in the Goa Assembly Elections 2017, making it the largest party in the House.
Shri Luizinho Faleiro with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Mizoram Chief Minister Shri Lalthanawla in Mizoram, 16 November 2013.
Chief Minister: Due to his commitment, contribution and standing within the party,Luizinho Faleiro was twice elected to be the Chief Minister of the State of Goa at a crucial juncture amidst rampant political instability. But in both instances, his tenure was cut short by the scourge of defections, wherein he preferred to resign rather than give in to compromises. As Chief Minister, he endeavoured to do his best to initiate steps to build a strong economy. He was the first to create a Ministry of Information Technology, first to create a Department of Information Technology and an Information Technology Policy at the all India level, with the hope that it would bring about fundamental change in every aspect of the economy, education, health, governance, communications and society.
Cabinet minister: As Cabinet minister is several Congress Cabinets in Goa, holding portfolios of Industries and Education (June 2005 till 2007); Cabinet Minister for Industries, Law, Judiciary, Legislative Affairs and Labour and Employment (December 1994 to 1999) and Urban Development, Social Welfare, Revenue, Labour and Employment and Housing among other portfolios (January 1990 to 1994), Luizinho was committed to changing the lot of Goa and Goans, since that was the principal motivation which had brought him into public life. He became a forceful champion of employment for Goans, protection of environment and biodiversity, labour welfare, eco-friendly industries, etc, by bringing in path breaking policies in these area, which would prove far ahead of their times. As Leader of Opposition and Chairman of various Legislative Committees, he indulged in constructive opposition, fighting for social equality, to make Goa a progressive state, where participative and sustainable development would benefit each and every Goan.
Childhood: Few Chief Ministers have chartered a more uncertain path to occupy the Chief Minister’s Chair. Born to humble Goan parents on August 26, 1951, during the difficult period of the Portuguese Colonial Rule, Luizinho Faleiro– the third of four siblings, lost his father at the early age of four. In his eventful political journey, Luizinho has not forgotten his roots. He is effusive about his mother ‘who spared no pains, to do a thousand chores well past 10 at night,’ to make ends meet. Luizinho confesses that it was his mother’s example of hard work and constant supplications to excel in life, that instilled in him the fire to become an achiever, gave him clarity of purpose and a talisman to guide his policies, which had the wellbeing and prosperity of Goa and its people, at their very core.
Youth: A most well behaved student in school, Luizinho’s daily journey through the charming Goan countryside, to the tunes of the birds, had a deep impact in cultivating his vision of preserving the pristine beauty and the resources of Goa, and passing it on to future generations. Though he was not exactly excited with the rubrics of academics in college initially, and hardly attended class, he reveled and prided in his role as a live-wire student leader. Despite his passion for co-curricular activities, he not only went on to do his Masters in Commerce, but took an additional degree of Law, which facilitated his entry into trade unionism, –a road which eventually led to his birth as a fiery young political leader.
Inspiration: A proud native of Salcete taluka of South Goa, Luizinho Faleiro draws inspiration from two stalwarts and fellow sons of Navelim –the great Indian patriot Dr Francisco Luis Gomes and Cardinal Valerian Gracias. In 1861,Gomes had famously declared in Paris,
“I was born in the East Indies, once the cradle of poetry, philosophy and history and now their tomb. I belong to that race which composed the Mahabharata and invented chess. But this nation which made codes of its poems and formulated politics in a game is no longer alive! It survives imprisoned in it’s own country. I asked for India liberty and light; as for myself, more happy than my countrymen, I am free – civis sum.”
~Dr Francisco Luis Gomes
Luizinho firmly believes that Dr Francisco Luis Gomes is not only an inspiration, but a true patriot and nationalist to the core, since he thought of Goa as being a part of India, even before its Liberation and actual integration with the motherland in 1961.
Cardinal Gracias, another patriot, Luizinho recounts, had set the agenda that the Church could no longer be the handmaid of the colonial powers, and implicitly needed to come into its own and decide its own future as an Indian Church.
Plunge Into Politics: After his exploits of fighting for workers’ rights and welfare, while heading several trade unions, Luizinho’s passion for doing something for Goa and its people, urged him to take the political plunge. He won the Goa Assembly election from Navelim Constituency of South Goa in 1980. At the age of 26, he was one of the youngest politicians, bubbling with energy to contribute his mite to society, and politics which played a dominant part in shaping society.
At that juncture, Goa was struggling to free itself from gnawing corruption in government and the spent force agenda of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which worked tirelessly for ‘Merger of Goa with Maharashtra and to make Marathi the official language of Goa’. After the Congress (U) election victory of 1980, Luizinho and other Congressmen went to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to join Congress(I). As Luizinho made his request for Statehood to Indira Gandhi, outside her 10 Safdarjang residence, Indira paused, retraced her steps and posed a challenge to Luizinho Faleiro to go back and first decide on Goa’s official language. This sparked a flame in him to intensify and concretise his fight for Konkani and Statehood.
In retrospect, after almost 38 years of public life and his international and national engagements, if one asks Luizinho Faleiro to reflect on whether he was able to accomplish his vision and what were his most potent achievements, he says that the most important aspirations of his overall Vision for Goa have been fulfilled. They are:
- The twin fight for recognition of Konkani as the official language of Goa and Statehood for Goa, which were both historic and most worthy achievements to save the identity, culture and ethos of Goa.
- Reservations of “Jobs for Goans”, by linking employment to working knowledge of Konkani Language and 15 year domicile, first in government and then in the private sector, even when it was very difficult, given the constraints in the Indian Constitution.
- His Vision and his legislation to Preserve, protect and enhance trees, forests, natural heritage and environment of Goa, as a gift to posterity.
- Luizinho’s fight for improving the living conditions of the indigenous people of Goa — the Backward Classes, comprising Gawdas, Kunbis, Velips and Dhangar by giving them reservations in jobs and education, and through formation of the OBC Corporation in the 1980s.
- Labour Welfare through Welfare Schemes, Minimum wages, Manpower development Cell, HRD Foundation, formation of Labour Welfare Board, regulation of migrant labour and other initiatives for improving the working conditions of labour.
- Drawing up a Vision Document for Education and over 50 odd interventions and schemes to improve the quality of education and make Goa a Knowledge driven society, Empowerment of Girl Students, implementation of NCERT syllabus so that students could compete at the national level and introduction of English as a compulsory subject from Class I to X are other achievements that Luizinho feels justifiably proud of.
- The establishment of the first Ministry of Information Technology, the first ever Department of Information Technology and the First ever Information Technology Policy in India. He also introduced the Biotechnology policy. Both these policies had the potential to change the matrix of development and employment in Goa.
- The Employment Policy with ‘Employment for All’ as its thrust, and The Housing Policy with ‘Housing for all’ had the potential to make a palpable difference to the lives of the people of Goa. These important policies are engaged with, in detail, in other sections of this website.
- Always a well researched and studied MLA, Luizinho Faleiro has tirelessly espoused causes, discussed issues and raised problems, both in the Goa Assembly and outside it, that were dear to his heart. He has been a fighter for these causes which were none other than the causes that were also dear to Goa and Goans.