Cong leader Faleiro accepts party going through tough times

(Eds: Updating with details) Shillong, Jun 22 (PTI) Congress general secretary Luizinho Faleiro has accepted that his party was going through "difficult times" and said an introspection was underway to find out and work on the grand old party's strength and weaknesses. Calling for structural changes in the Congress, Faleiro, who is the incharge of Northeast, said the party would come up with an action plan for the restructuring programme in about 6,000 villages of Meghalaya over next 15 days or a month. "The Congress is going through difficult times, we have to accept and appreciate it. We are doing our introspection to find out and work on our strengths and weaknesses," Faleiro said on Friday during a meeting with the Meghalaya Congress leaders, party MLAs and other functionaries here. "However, more than the Congress party, it is the nation which is going through disturbing times," he said. The eight Northeastern states has a total of 25 Lok Sabha seats. Congress drew blank in six of them. It has won only three of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam and one in Meghalaya. The BJP, meanwhile, won 13 seats in the region on their own and rest eight was bagged by regional parties, which are its allies in NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance). Faleiro maintained that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre was not sensitive to the needs of the indigenous communities in the Northeast. He stressed that the Northeast regional parties should realise that National Democratic Alliance government was working against their interests. "The BJP-led NDA government has withdrawn special category status to the Northeast states. It was now trying to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill here," the senior Congress leader said. "It is important to realise whether being a member of the NEDA would be beneficial for the region in the long-run." The Congress, which ruled Meghalaya for long, has not done well in the elections in the state since 2018. Backed by the BJP, the ruling National People's Party wrested powers from the Congress despite winning maximum seats in the assembly elections last year. In the general election, although the Congress retained the Shillong parliamentary seat, but lost the Tura seat despite leader of Opposition and former chief minister Mukul Sangma contesting against NPP's Agatha K Sangma. In 2018, the Congress lost power in Mizoram, its last bastion in the Northeast and the Mizo National Front came to power. "The former economic adviser to the prime minister had clearly stated that the way the GDP was being manipulated, it was wrong. There is no industrial growth or agricultural growth. The government has taken the country 45 years behind in terms of employment opportunities," Faleiro said. PTI JOP RMS SNSHMB