Goa Congress Ally Says Defectors To BJP “Enemies Of People And God”

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Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai accuses BJP of “deceit and manipulation”.

Panaji:

Congress ally Goa Forward Party has said MLAs who have defected to the ruling BJP are “pure evil” and “enemies of the people and God”. Led by former chief minister Digambar Kamat and senior leader Michael Lobo, eight of 11 Congress MLAs today joined the BJP. The Congress had managed to stave this off in July, but the timing now — in the middle of Rahul Gandhi-led ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ (Unite India March) — makes it more embarrassing. 

“The eight legislators who have decided, against all political propriety, basic decency and honesty, to pursue their greed for wealth and hunger for power, stand today as the symbols of pure evil,” said Goa Forward Party chief and its lone MLA, Vijai Sardesai, in a statement to the media.

He said the people of Goa would feel “backstabbed”, particularly during “the Hindu auspicious period of Pitru Paksa, when these MLAs chose to repay their debts to their ancestors in this devious and false-hearted manner”. 

He accused the BJP of using “deceit and manipulation” to stay in power, saying that the MLAs “allowed them(selves) to be purchased like cattle”. He appealed to the people to “reject these traitors… and brand them as enemies of the people and God”. Political defections are not just a betrayal of the people’s mandate, but also “the denigration and mockery of God”.

This morning, the MLAs’ meeting with the Speaker set off the speculation as the assembly is not in session. State BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade then said they are joining the party. And in another hour it was done.

Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo were at the centre of the switchover speculation in July too, and the Congress had even asked the speaker to disqualify them under the anti-defection law. The party removed Michael Lobo as Leader of Opposition, but a replacement was awaited. 

In July, Mr Kamat had said he was “shocked and stunned” at the allegations of leading a division. Even Michael Lobo, who was in the BJP before joining the Congress ahead of elections earlier this year, had denied any such move. He took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi’s Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir yatra, saying, “It is Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo. (Quit Congress, Strengthen BJP).”

The Congress in Goa broke apart in 2019 too, when 10 of its 15 MLAs went to the BJP. This year, the party had made its candidates take a loyalty vow in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. Evidently, it didn’t work on at least eight of them. 

Today Mr Kamat said, “We are unhappy with Congress. We saw what happened with Ghulam Nabi Azad,” referring to the senior leader who recently quit the party while questioning Rahul Gandhi’s political acumen. “We will work with PM Narendra Modi and Goa CM Pramod Sawant for betterment of the state,” he added.



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