“By the grace of God, I tasted success after success with the Congress coming back to power in different States entrusted to me such as Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur. The Karnataka Assembly Elections of 2013 were one of the greatest challenges, which eventually paid off with sweet victory.” ~Luizinho Faleiro
LUIZINHO’S ROLE IN NATIONAL POLITICS
Though Luizinho Faleiro is a proud Goan and humble son of the soil, and emerged as a State Leader, his contribution to National Politics has been tremendous, with many firsts to his credit. Recognising his potential and leadership qualities, Luizinho Faleiro was called upon by the Central Congress Leadership to take on national responsibilities.
Luizinho Faleiro holds the distinction of being the first Goan to be appointed to the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy and decision making body of the Indian National Congress, India’s oldest party. He also became the first Goan to be appointed the General Secretary of the All Indian Congress Committee (AICC) and the First Goan to be General Secretary In-charge of Seven States of the North East, not once but twice first in 2007 and now in 2018. Luizinho Faleiro was also Screening Committee Chairman for the 2013 Karnataka Assembly Elections.
The Reliable Congress General: What is significant about Luizinho Faleiro is not the positions he is holding or held in the past, but the goods he delivered to the party and to the Nation, as Congress In-charge of the North Eastern States, in Karnataka, and in Goa. Luizinho Faleiro was responsible for devising the campaign strategy, liaising between the Centre and the State leadership, researching, formulating and executing grueling campaigns, sometimes even at the risk of his life. His cognitive skills, political acumen and hard work on the ground, together with local Congress leaders succeeded in installing Seven Congress governments in the North East and one in Karnataka.
Under Luizinho Faleiro’s guidance Congress governments were installed in the following states:
- Mizoram ( twice in 2008 & 2013 )
- Meghalaya (twice in 2008 & 2013 )
- Arunachal Pradesh (twice in 2009 & 2014)
- Manipur ( in 2012 )
These are tremendous achievements given the fact that he was working with topography, people, languages, cultures, customs and conventions, which were totally alien to him in his home State, Goa. In fact, Luizinho became the Congress party’s ‘Reliable General’ to win elections in various states by gluing together alliances, devising state specific strategies, overcoming local hurdles, disunity and firing-up party candidates with the belief that they could win.
“I can never forget my assignments as In-charge of the North Eastern States, often called the Seven Sisters and jewels in the Indian Crown,” Luizinho Faleiro reminiscences with nostalgia. In retrospect, these governments not only brought political mileage to the Congress party but were able to bring stability and peace to the long troubled region, which was Luizinho’s major contribution to the region and to India’s National Interest.
Facilitating the visit of then Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi to Mizoram in March 2010
After then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi signed the Mizo Accord, it was the Mizo National Front which benefited and won elections in Mizoram since then. It was only in 2008 under the stewardship of Luizinho Faleiro, that Congress could wrest power in Mizoram and gain a foothold in the State. This Luizinho managed to do by making several trips to the State, assessing the situation on the ground, keeping the High Command informed about the developments and seeking guidance from the Congress President, and finally implementing his plans and strategies forged with the help of local leadership. Ahead of the Mizoram Assembly Elections he along with the High Command and local leaders was successful in choosing the right candidates to win the State of Mizoram twice for the Congress — once in 2008 and again in 2013.
Chief Guest Mr. Luizinho Faleiro, General Secretary of AICC, Member Congress Working committee and incharge of North Eastern States at a meeting in Meghalaya with Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma, Dr. D.D Lapang, Shri Vincent Pala Union Minister of State for Water Resources and Dr. Friday Lyngdoh PCC President.
In Meghalaya, Luizinho Faleiro had to deal with the Regional Parties, with some having an alliance with the BJP. But Luizinho, with his political acumen and human prowess, put together a formidable alliance that swept to power, and swept aside the Opposition, for two consecutive terms.
Shri. Luizinho Faleiro addressing a massive conference of Congress party workers in Manipur in June 2011
(L) With then Congress Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi at Manipur in 2013. (R) Shri Rahul Gandhi interacting with Youth Congress members in Manipur
In Manipur, Luizinho Faleiro, had the courage to grapple with the reality of an insurgency hit state. Nearly 50 underground organisations had given a diktat to the people not to participate in the State Assembly Elections. Indigenous groups of tribals and sub tribals made the landscape complex to understand and deal with. The insurgents made every possible effort to sabotage elections to the six autonomous councils. The Congress party not only held the elections but with Luizinho in the forefront as In-charge, the Congress, in a historic first, won all the six autonomous councils in Manipur after 22 years.
Luizinho Faleiro’s commitment and involvement in the north east was so intense that he became a churning force for the Congress. He was also seen as a threat, since he stood for the unity and integrity of India. During the electoral battle in Manipur, Luizinho Faleiro, had a narrow escape while campaigning. An attempt was made on his life by an extremist who tried to ram a vehicle into Luizinho’s motorcade.
“It was only through Divine Providence and circumstances that I managed to escape unhurt and unscathed, even as the attacker himself was killed instantly,” Luizinho narrates about this horrific incident meant to destabilise the Congress party in Manipur.
The shattering incident only helped Luizinho to strengthen his faith in God and strengthened his resolve to fight for a democratic India.
The Congress party stormed to power in Arunachal Pradesh under the stewardship of Congress In-Charge of North Eastern States, Luizinho Faleiro twice –once in 2009 and then again in 2014. Again it was the ability of Luizinho Faleiro to take advice from the Congress High Command after briefing them correctly, assessing the political realities, choosing the right candidates in a fair and transparency manner and the ability to unitedly direct energies towards the common goal of victory of the Congress party, that motivated the Arunachal Congressmen to achieve the feat twice.
Luizinho Faleiro in his last assignment before returning to salvage the Congress party’s fortunes in Goa, was appointed Chairman of the Karnataka Pradesh Assembly Elections Screening committee for selection of party candidates in 2015. Luizinho formulated an on-ground strategy, down to the minutest detail with copious research by taking everyone on board and scripting Congress victory in the 2015 elections, ending the BJP’s very first government in the South, till date. Luizinho therefore turned out to be the ‘Shrewd Strategist’ for the Congress in salvaging its fortunes in various states. Asked about his success in Karnataka, a humble Luizinho accepted the victory with a terse comment, “The Karnataka elections was one of the greatest challenges, which eventually paid off with sweet victory.” In terms of the National implications, the victory halted the southward march of the BJP, and Goa’s own Luizinho Faleiro takes the laurels for this major political achievement.
Having worked closely with then Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi and then Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi and fulfilling all the party’s assigned tasks with success and finesse, Luizinho still remained the unassuming Goan we all know him to be.
“By the grace of God, I tasted success after success with the Congress coming back to power in different States entrusted to me,” was all that a modest Luizinho Faleiro says with a down to earth, contented smile.
Luizinho Faleiro’s break from Goa was a blessing in disguise, since he became part of the leadership that was shaping the New Congress, which was wresting power in many states.
Reclaiming his Home State —Goa:
In 2014, Luizinho Faleiro was sent back to his home state –Goa, which he accepted reluctantly at the request of Sonia Gandhi. Here he faced a dispirited, disunited Congress, which never came to grips with its 2012 Assembly Elections defeat and the simultaneous rise of the BJP in Goa. Luizinho Faleiro was elected as the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President in 2014.
Sensing the public opinion Luzinho set a new agenda post 2014. He batted for integrity in governance, and resolved to fight corruption, projected a new youth leadership, set an agenda to crack down on many festering issues such as Casinos, destruction of environment which had thrived under the BJP government. Despite the severe challenges and disunity, Luizinho was able to bring back the Congress with the highest tally of 17 seats from the single digit 9 seats, the party had won in 2012, making it the single largest party. He himself contested the 2017 elections at the last moment, at the request of his voters and was elected MLA of his Navelim Constituency, for the Seventh time, reclaiming the seat from an Independent. He laid down office as GPCC President on 7th July 2017.
Previously, Luizinho Faleiro had served as the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President in 1999 and 2002. As President, he brought the Congress back to power with full majority in 1999.
Till date Luizinho Faleiro remains a good political strategist and reliable leader of the National Congress. Due to his track record, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has again appointed him AICC General Secretary Incharge Of North Eastern States on, on 21st Aug 2018, even as he is a sitting MLA from Navelim Constituency in Goa. For Luizinho Faleiro it will be a tremendous challenge to say the least, a challenge which he has accepted due to his commitment to the Congress Party.
Truly a Goan Leader of National Stature.