Goa Congress News

Trinamool Spent Rs 47 Crore For Goa Polls, BJP Rs 17 Crore: Election Body
Ndtv | 1 day ago | |
Ndtv
1 day ago | |

Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had actively campaigned for the assembly elections in Goa.New Delhi: The Goa assembly elections were keenly fought with the Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party throwing their hats in the ring but when it came to poll expenditure, it was the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress that loosened its purse strings spending a whopping Rs 47.54 crore.The BJP, which retained power in Goa with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the helm, spent over Rs 17.75 crore towards election expenditure in the state.The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP spent nearly Rs 3.5 crore in Goa, where it tried its luck for the second consecutive assembly elections.The details of the election expenditure were submitted by the respective political parties to the Election Commission recently.The Congress, which was hoping to dislodge the BJP from power in Goa, spent approximately Rs 12 crore on the Goa elections.The Nationalist Congress Party gave Rs 25 lakh each to the 11 candidates it had fielded for the elections, besides spending on the campaign from the party's central fund.The Shiv Sena, which fielded 10 candidates in the Goa elections, spent nearly Rs 92 lakh towards poll expenditure. Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had launched an election blitzkrieg in Goa with poll strategist Prashant Kishor playing a key role in trying to get the party a toehold in the state.The party fielded 23 candidates in the Goa assembly election but none of them won, while its ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party put up candidates in 13 seats and managed to win two.The AAP fielded 39 candidates and managed to open its account in the state by winning two seats.The Congress had cried foul at the entry of Trinamool Congress and the AAP in the electoral fray in Goa, accusing them of dividing the anti-BJP vote.The BJP won 20 seats in the 40-member assembly and formed the government with the support of two MGP MLAs and three Independent legislators.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEarlier this month, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, defected to the BJP.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Trinamool Spent Rs 47 Crore For Goa Polls, BJP Rs 17 Crore: Election Body
Political circles abuzz as Ferreira supports Congress-GFP merger
Times of India | 6 days ago | |
Times of India
6 days ago | |

Margao: A statement by Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira that a merger of Goa Forward Party (GFP) with Congress would strengthen anti-BJP forces in the state, and GFP president Vijai Sardesai instantly warming up to the idea has set political circles abuzz with speculations.Pointing out to Sardesai's roots in Congress and describing him as a “firebrand leader,” Ferreira said, “We are in alliance with Vijai Sardesai. There is an ideological like-mindedness between us, and this is what keeps us together. Vijai is a leader in his own right. I have known him since his student leader days. And if he (joins Congress) we will be strengthened further. It is time for all forces to realign to make sure that we defeat these kinds of forces that are defeating our nation, trampling upon the constitution and trying to make democracy redundant.”Sardesai responded cautiously to Ferreira’s invitation, though he dropped enough hints that he wasn’t averse to the idea.“The issue of merger cannot be decided by speculation. In the absence of any formal proposal, I cannot take it forward. This requires a formal high-level initiative which at the moment isn’t there,” Sardesai said. He maintained, however, that he was an alliance partner of Congress and remains so till date.The Fatorda MLA said that Congress lay in a moribund state and that most of the new parties have come to occupy the political space ceded by Congress. “I am not fighting for the space of Congress; I don’t want to be cannibalistic. I want to unite all anti-BJP forces to uproot this anti-Goan government and party from Goa. That’s my intention and that’s why I had formed an alliance with Congress. That sentiment still prevails,” Sardesai said.The GFP president said he was interested in “winning the hearts of the people” with his anti-corruption, anti-coal and anti-defection stance

Political circles abuzz as Ferreira supports Congress-GFP merger
Goa: We will return to grassroots to rejuvenate party, says Congress
Times of India | 6 days ago | |
Times of India
6 days ago | |

MARGAO: At a meeting of Congress workers from South Goa at the party's district office in Margao on Monday, it was decided to "rejuvenate" the party from the grassroots and to be the voice of the people. Addressing reporters after the meeting, Viriato Fernandes, a party functionary, said that party workers voiced their anger over the "betrayal of trust of the voters" and "murder of democracy" by the eight Congress MLAs who jumped to BJP recently. "We will go to the grassroots and explain to the people. BJP is the main culprit in this defection. They purchased our MLAs. We will go to all villages across Goa and rejuvenate the party," Fernandes said. He added, "Our foundation is strong, the party ideology is also strong, only those who had come for personal benefits have left." Margao MLA Digambar Kamat particularly came in for sharp criticism at the meeting. "We have to rebuild the party. We have to be the voice of the people and uphold the values of democracy. Our three MLAs will raise the issues of the people in the assembly, the party workers will work at the grassroots. We will take the battle forward," Fernandes said.

Goa: We will return to grassroots to rejuvenate party, says Congress
  • Congress: We will return to grassroots to rejuvenate party
  • Times of India

    Margao: At a meeting of Congress workers from South Goa at the party’s district office in Margao on Monday, it was decided to “rejuvenate” the party from the grassroots and to be the voice of the people.Addressing reporters after the meeting, Viriato Fernandes, a party functionary, said that party workers voiced their anger over the “betrayal of trust of the voters” and “murder of democracy” by the eight Congress MLAs who jumped to BJP recently. “We will go to the grassroots and explain to the people. BJP is the main culprit in this defection. They purchased our MLAs. We will go to all villages across Goa and rejuvenate the party,” Fernandes said.He added, “Our foundation is strong, the party ideology is also strong, only those who had come for personal benefits have left.”Margao MLA Digambar Kamat particularly came in for sharp criticism at the meeting.“We have to rebuild the party. We have to be the voice of the people and uphold the values of democracy. Our three MLAs will raise the issues of the people in the assembly, the party workers will work at the grassroots. We will take the battle forward,” Fernandes said.

Goa: Work for development, win both LS seats, Amit Shah, JP Nadda tell new BJP MLAs
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: Seven of the eight MLAs who defected to BJP last week met Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda at the party headquarters in Delhi on Monday. Chief minister Pramod Sawant, who accompanied the MLAs along with state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, told TOI that Shah and Nadda urged the MLAs to work for the development of the state, and that BJP should win both Lok Sabha seats in Goa. The Goan contingent, however, had to return without meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who cancelled the appointment at the last minute. Sawant told TOI that Modi cancelled the meeting because of his busy schedule, and that they would meet him next time. The meeting between the MLAs, Shah and Nadda took half an hour, and various issues were discussed. The seven MLAs are former CM Digambar Kamat (Margao), Aleixo Sequeira (Nuvem), Rodolfo Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Delilah Lobo (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao), and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). Calangute MLA Michael Lobo was not part of the group, as he is in Kenya. Eight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque, taking a vow not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs “merged” the CLP into BJP taking the saffron party’s strength to 28 in the 40-member House. The three MLAs who remain with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. The merger of the CLP into BJP was held considering the upcoming Lok Sabha election, where BJP is eying both seats, especially South Goa, which has proved tough for the party to secure. So far, BJP has only won that seat twice. Chief minister Pramod Sawant is likely to reshuffle his cabinet after returning from Delhi. Sawant is likely to induct one minister initially. Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira is likely to be the first to be inducted, political sources said. Whether Margao MLA Digambar Kamat is to be inducted in the state cabinet or moved to Delhi will be taken by the central leadership, a senior BJP leader had said. Ahead of the Delhi visit, Sawant also attended the coordination meeting called by RSS. The chief minister said that all the organisations connected with RSS attended the meeting.

Goa: Work for development, win both LS seats, Amit Shah, JP Nadda tell new BJP MLAs
  • Goa CM Pramod Sawant, 7 new BJP MLAs to meet Narendra Modi today
  • Times of India

    PANAJI/VASCO: Chief minister Pramod Sawant will lead the seven MLAs, who merged the Congress legislative wing into BJP, in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Sawant said that the seven MLAs will meet the PM, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda. “Our visit to Delhi is purely meant to meet party leaders,” the chief minister told TOI at the Goa airport. Sawant, accompanied by BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar and five of the newly inducted MLAs left for Delhi by a late evening flight on Sunday. Tanavade said that other than meeting the PM, Union home minister and party’s national president, “nothing else has been planned during our scheduled visit to Delhi”. Michael Lobo told TOI that he is unable to attend the meeting on Monday as he is currently in Kenya and will return on Thursday. The five newly inducted MLAs who accompanied the CM and Tanavade on the flight to Delhi are Sankalp Amonkar, Delilah Lobo, Kedar Naik, Rudolf Fernandes and Aleixo Sequeira. Sources said that Digambar Kamat and Rajesh Phaldesai have already reached the national capital. The chief minister is likely to reshuffle his cabinet after returning from Delhi. Margao MLA Digambar Kamat and former leader of opposition and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo along with six other MLAs “merged” the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) with BJP, last week. Ahead of the Delhi visit, Sawant also attended the coordination meeting called by RSS. The chief minister said that all the organisations connected with RSS attended the meeting. Sawant is likely to induct one minister initially. Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira is likely to be first to be inducted. Whether Kamat is to be inducted in the state cabinet or moved to Delhi will be taken by the central leadership, a senior BJP leader said. Besides Kamat and Lobo, the other MLAs who joined BJP are Sequeira, Rodolfo Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Michael’s wife Delilah (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao) and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). Eight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque taking a vow not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs “merged” the CLP into BJP taking the saffron party’s strength to 28 in the 40-member House. The three MLAs who remained with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. The merger was held considering the upcoming Lok Sabha seat where BJP is eyeing to win both the seats especially the South Goa one which has proved tough to secure. So far BJP has only won the seat twice.

  • Goa CM Pramod Sawant, 8 new BJP MLAs to meet PM Modi on September 19
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant will lead the 8 MLAs, who merged the Congress legislative wing into BJP, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Sawant told TOI that the eight MLAs will meet the Prime Minister, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda. The chief minister is likely to reshuffle his cabinet after returning from the national capital. Margao MLA Digambar Kamat and former leader of opposition and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo along with six other MLAs “merged” the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) with BJP, last week. Ahead of the Delhi visit, Sawant also attended the coordination meeting called by RSS. He said that all the organisations connected with RSS attended the meeting. Sawant is likely to induct one minister initially. Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira is likely to be first to be inducted.

  • Goa CM Pramod Sawant, 8 MLAs who switched to BJP to meet PM Modi in Delhi
  • The Indian Express

    Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday said he will be traveling to Delhi with the eight newly inducted MLAs, who defected to the BJP from the Congress. Sawant and the MLAs are scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national Capital.The chief minister, who attended an annual meeting of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Sunday, said, “A meeting with the PM has been fixed. I will go with the eight MLAs and the (Goa BJP) president,” he told reporters.Eight MLAs – including former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat and former leader of Opposition Micheal Lobo – who were elected to the Goa Legislative Assembly on Congress tickets, defected to the BJP on September 14, in a merger of the two legislature parties. With this, the Congress’s strength declined from 11 to just three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly and that of the BJP increased from 20 to 28.In July 2019, two-thirds (then 10 out of 15) of the Congress MLAs had defected to the BJP in a similar fashion. Back then too, the defections took place while Sawant helmed the government.The recent developments have dealt a blow to the Congress at a time when party leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra is underway. Along with Kamat and Lobo, MLAs including Lobo’s wife Delilah, former minister Aleixo Sequeira, Sankalp Amonkar, Kedar Naik, Rajesh Phal Dessai and Rudolfo Fernandes were welcomed into the saffron party by Pramod Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Tanavade last week.Sawant had said, “Congress has started a Bharat Jodo Yatra but in Goa the Congress Chhodo Yatra has begun. I welcome the new MLAs in BJP wholeheartedly… Before the election, we had resolved ‘Bavisaant Baavis plus (22 plus MLAs in 2022)’ and before 2022 comes to an end, the BJP has 28 of its own MLAs and the BJP’s foundation in Goa has been strengthened. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, we will definitely win both Parliamentary seats. With Congress Chhodo Yatra beginning in Goa, various Congress leaders from across the country will come to the BJP in the interest of the nation and give more strength to Modi-ji. And Modi-ji will be back as the Prime Minister in 2024 with over 400 (parliamentary) seats.”After the Assembly election results were declared on March 10, the BJP had formed the government with 20 of its own MLAs and support from two MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independents. With eight Congress MLAs switching to the treasury benches in a merger of the legislature parties, the BJP now has 28 MLAs of its own and support from five, raising its tally to 33. The Opposition now consists of three Congress MLAs, two from the AAP and one each from the Goa Forward Party and the Revolutionary Goans Party.Stung first in 2019 with 10 of its 15 MLAs walking over to the BJP, the Congress had averted a repeat of the incident in July and accused Kamat and Lobo of engineering the defection of its MLAs. The party had also filed disqualification petitions against the two leaders before the Speaker of the Assembly. But the storm seemed to have blown over only for a while. With their respective trips to Delhi, both Kamat and Lobo had made it apparent that their entry into the BJP was imminent.Ahead of the Assembly election in February, the Congress had for the first time taken its election candidates to a temple, church and a dargah where they, led by Kamat, took an oath that they would stay in the Congress if elected on a party ticket. Later, they also filed affidavits to this effect in the presence of Rahul Gandhi.Asked if their oath before Goa was insincere, Kamat said: “I am a believer in God. About the oath which I have taken before God, I have gone back to the temple and I have asked God and the Goddess that this (joining BJP) is in my mind. What should I do? We have a system of getting prasad. Then God said, you go ahead, don’t worry.”AICC Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao had alleged that the BJP had paid Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore to each of the MLAs who jumped ship. He said that the BJP had spent Rs 240 crore for splitting the Congress in Goa.Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade had then said, “We did not go seeking any MLAs. They formed their group and said that they want to join our party. We have not given a single rupee to any one or made any promises. They have come on their own and they have come unconditionally. The Congress only wants to make such allegations against us to divert people’s attention.”

  • Panchayat must serve citizens, help disabled: Goa CM Pramod Sawant
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said that the panchayat's role is not just restricted to granting construction licences, but to also serve the people, maintain cleanliness, conserve water bodies, and other related aspects. Sawant was speaking during the inauguration of a training programme by Goa Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development (GIPARD) for newly-elected representatives of village panchayats at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao on Thursday. The chief minister urged the panchs to be the link person between the government and reach out to the last person in society. He said told the panchs that they have a role to play in identifying persons with disabilities who require implants and assistive devices in their wards and help them in getting the devices which the government provides for free. Similarly, panch members can play a role in monitoring and identifying children under the age of six who require cochlear implant operation which costs over Rs 6 lakh where the family won't have to spend any money, he said. "If you identify children who are hearing impaired as early as possible, you can facilitate them and direct them to GMC, and they won't have to spend anything for the operation," Sawant said. He narrated the incident of a 34-year-old woman who suffered a spinal cord injury and was at home for four years, and she couldn't afford a wheelchair. The government provided her one and it was for the first time that she had gotten out of her house. "Whatever the cost of the wheelchair and other assistive devices, the government can bear the expenses," Sawant said. Sawant said Goa's utilisation of central government schemes is low compared to other states, despite it being an educated state, and urged panch members to reach out to those living in poverty and link them with schemes including self-sustaining schemes.

  • With electoral triumphs bookended by arrivals from Congress, Pramod Sawant consolidates his hold on Goa BJP
  • The Indian Express

    With eight of its 11 MLAs in Goa joining the BJP on Wednesday, the Congress party faced a second major instance of defection in the state in the past three-and-a-half years of BJP rule under Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.Despite his personal winning margin having shrunk to 666 votes in this year’s Assembly election, the BJP’s central leadership had decided to keep Sawant as Goa’s Chief Minister. He was, however, not without a challenger. Until the day Sawant was declared Chief Minister for a second time in March, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane was very much in the reckoning for the top job. Tensions between Sawant and Rane have been no secret in Goa’s politics, and spilt over during the time the state was reeling under a crisis in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic amid deaths of patients in the Goa Medical College in May 2021. Of late, there have been fewer manifestations of these tensions.The latest defection of Congress MLAs, which follows a similar move by 10 of the party’s Goa MLAs in 2019, is likely to cement Sawant’s position as the BJP’s top leader in the coastal state. When Sawant welcomed the Congress defectors into the party fold at the BJP headquarters in Panaji on Wednesday, he was asked if raising the BJP’s tally in the 40-member House from 20 to 28 gave him an advantage. “I am saying this again. The BJP is a party that has a central leadership. We are not a regional party. We are constantly working in the interest of the country,” he responded.In July, when an attempt at the defection that came through on Wednesday was foiled, Sawant had said that the BJP had a stable government in Goa and did not need any more MLAs. On Wednesday, he said, “If people want to come and join us, they are welcome.” Asked if any of the newly inducted MLAs would be accommodated in his Cabinet, he said, “That we will see. They have been accommodated in the party. They have joined us unconditionally.”That this decision was taken with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls was apparent when Sawant said, “…the BJP’s foundation in Goa has been strengthened. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, we will definitely win both the Parliamentary seats.”The BJP has been determined to wrest the South Goa parliamentary seat from the Congress. The entry of former chief minister and eight-time Margao MLA Digambar Kamat into the BJP fold gave fresh wind to speculation that he could be the party’s candidate from South Goa in 2024.Asked on Wednesday if a Cabinet berth or a ticket to contest the parliamentary election from South Goa were among his expectations on his return to the BJP, Kamat said, “I am such a senior leader. I have no expectations. I have joined them unconditionally.”Making inroads into the Catholic-dominated Salcete taluka has been among the BJP’s main challenges in South Goa. However, in the last Assembly election, with Opposition votes split between the Congress, AAP and TMC, the BJP won the Navelim seat and secured one MLA in Salcete, which is spread out over eight Assembly constituencies. With the addition of former minister Aleixo Sequeira to the BJP on Wednesday, the saffron party may also be hopeful of securing more votes from the Nuvem Assembly constituency, which is also in Salcete. With the addition of four Catholic MLAs — three in North Goa and one in the South — the number of Catholic MLAs in the BJP climbed from five to nine.The BJP, which formed the government in the state with the support of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents, has the support of two Independent Catholic MLAs from Salcete.Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade said that Kamat’s entry into the party would help the BJP in Margao, the majority-dominated constituency of Salcete. “In Margao, this will definitely help us. He has been an MLA eight times.”“Leaders of other parties have seen the good work done by the BJP government in Goa and at the Centre under the leadership of PM Modi. This is happening all over the country. More and more leaders want to join the BJP because they have seen our work,” Tanavade said.While mid-term changes in leadership are not alien to BJP-governed states, Sawant may have put speculation over this to rest in Goa with Wednesday’s events coming on the back of comfortably forming a government in March and scoring big in the panchayat elections in the state in August.

The downslide in federal relations
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Dear Reader,Soon after becoming the Prime Minister in 2014, Narendra Modi spoke about cooperative federalism as an idea that could guide Centre-state relations. His long experience as Chief Minister of Gujarat, presumably, may have been an instructive influence in shaping his vision of governance. Unfortunately, federal relations have been on the downslide for some years now.Historically, Centre-state relations have been a fraught issue since the 1960s, especially during the premierships of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. The tension would exacerbate whenever an Opposition party would win power in a state. In fact, the Kerala crisis in 1959 was a harbinger of how this tension could build into a stand-off between the Union and the state governments. In the heyday of the Congress and Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1950s, Kerala had voted in a CPI government. Just two years after it was sworn in, the Congress-led Opposition, in cahoots with caste/ communitarian groups that were upset with the radical tenancy and education reforms, launched a mass movement calling for the ouster of the communist government. In 1959, reportedly under pressure from the then Congress president, Indira Gandhi, the Nehru government invoked Article 371 to dismiss the EMS government, which enjoyed a majority in the Assembly. Thereafter, successive Union governments, with support from pliable governors, have dismissed inconvenient state governments and imposed President’s Rule in Opposition-ruled states. This tendency peaked in the 1970s and 80s under Indira and Rajiv. Parties such as the CPM, citing the examples of Kerala and West Bengal, used to campaign against the Centre’s “step-motherly treatment” of Opposition-run states. This was the backdrop of the Sarkaria Commission (1983) that looked into Centre-state relations and made numerous proposals for its improvement. Despite Modi’s assurances, federalism seems to have taken a knock as an ambitious BJP seeks to dominate the polity at all costs. The ongoing controversy over the Vedanta-Foxconn project, which this newspaper has tracked in depth, as well as the mass defections in Goa seem like a throwback to the 1970s and 80s, when the Congress used to ignore constitutional and institutional propriety to further its political goals.Last week, it was announced that the Rs 1.54 lakh crore Vedanta-Foxconn project, originally planned for Maharashtra, would come up in Gujarat. The Opposition in Maharashtra alleged that the Centre used its leverage over the promoters to shift the project to Gujarat. Until recently, the Maha Vikas Aghadi, an anti BJP alliance, was in office in Mumbai. Moreover, Gujarat is headed for elections later this year. This war of words between the BJP-Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) and the MVA has threatened to open old fault lines in federal relations as well as the state’s political economy. Also, ethnic tensions that date back to the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement in the 1950s have started to feature in political debates. Girish Kuber (‘A troubling trend’, September 16) fleshed out the details of the controversy while an editorial (‘Whose project’, September 16) cautioned against an emerging chill in Centre -state relations. The editorial said: “There is no reason why cities or states within India must not compete among themselves for investment and industry. In fact, they should. At the same time, the political gloves are off, Centre-state chill is deepening, many MLAs have become fungible assets, making for tricky terrain when it comes to who decides to invest where. The stakes are high when the fault lines run deep, watch this space.”The defection of eight Congress MLAs in Goa to the BJP, reminiscent of similar movements in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka, exposed the lead Opposition party’s inability to keep its flock together in the absence of power. An editorial (‘Aya Ram, Gaya Ram’, September 15) pointed out the weakening of the Opposition space as the BJP seeks to consolidate the political space. If the slogan was Congress-mukt Bharat in 2014, today it seems to be Opposition-mukt Bharat. As majorities are upturned or enhanced, the anti-defection law, which was introduced in the 1980s with the intent to raise the bar for party hopping, has been thoroughly exposed. Legislators seem ready to switch sides shamelessly — in Goa, the elections were held as recently as March — with the confidence that voters may be willing to condone their act. In Karnataka, most of the MLAs who defected got reelected on their new party symbol. Perhaps, Parliament should tweak the anti-defection law and ask defecting legislators to sit out one term before they seek endorsement of voters in their new avatar!As the Opposition space gets squeezed elsewhere, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced that his government will provide breakfast to primary school students. This is in addition to the universal mid-day meal scheme that has been a part of public education in the state since the 1980s. What is interesting is that Stalin has sought to give a political spin to his initiative by stating that the scheme is welfare, not a freebie, and it is his “duty” to provide such welfare. The breakfast scheme is part of a slew of initiatives in the education sector that Tamil Nadu has introduced in recent months. These interventions in education are framed as conscious political acts and in step with the Dravidian Model of governance as against the preference of Hindutva politics for a polarising nationalism and other majoritarian agendas. This could become the core of a new Opposition politics.One of cinema’s greatest auteurs departed last week. Jean-Luc Godard, French director and film theorist, reportedly died by assisted suicide at the age of 91 in Switzerland. Godard was one of the leaders of the French New Wave and inspired filmmakers all over the world. His films were political to the core and constantly explored the politics of the image and sound. He constantly reinvented himself as an artist to keep his autonomy and agency and from being appropriated by the state and its institutions as well as to keep up with upheavals in politics, science and technology. C S Venkiteswaran (‘Conscience of cinema’, September 14) and Amrit Gangar (‘Godard on the Borivali local’, September 15) wrote touching tributes to the maestro.Last week also saw a new development in the Gyanvapi mosque case, with a district court in Varanasi agreeing to hear a plea by five Hindu devotees that their right to worship at the site be protected (‘Law and politics’, September 13). The hearing is set to begin on September 22. Faizan Mustafa (‘Not by the law’, September 13) warned against over-dependence on litigation to maintain social harmony.That’s all for this week.Thank you,AmrithAmrith Lal is Deputy Editor with the Opinion team

The downslide in federal relations
RG warns of stir, wants defectors to contest again
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Panaji: Indicating that larger protests at the constituency level would be held, Revolutionary Goans Party on Sunday demanded that the eight MLAs who switched over from Congress to BJP should resign and contest elections again. Revolutionary Goans held a symbolic peaceful protest at Azad Maidan, Panaji, where party volunteers from the constituencies represented by the eight MLAs said that voters are disgusted by the incident. “Ours is a symbolic protest, this is just the beginning. We will have different protests in the coming months. This is just a warning,” said RGP founder president Manoj Parab. He said that the eight MLAs jumped ship to earn a share from the mega investment projects that are expected to come into Goa in the coming months. “Multi-crore projects including golf courses, residential schools, race courses, yoga centres and hotels will be coming in each constituency and that is why these MLAs have changed their party so that they can get a share from the projects,” Parab said. He also criticised voters for accepting money from the MLAs in exchange for votes. “When people take money to vote, they surrender the right to question the MLA. This is increasing in Goa,” Parab said. The party also said the incident proves that Congress and BJP are two sides of the same coin. “BJP and Congress were united even before the elections and this whole thing was just drama to hoodwink people,” said the party’s lone MLA Viresh Borkar. “BJP and Congress created drama to cheat the people and enrich themselves. It is time for people to open their eyes.”

RG warns of stir, wants defectors to contest again
Now Bharat Jodo Yatra divides Karnataka Cong, open blame game among the top two
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

With the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra set to enter Karnataka on September 30 for a 22-day stretch, the divide between the party’s state chief D K Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has again revealed the faultlines in the state unit.Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in Karnataka next year. Along with Rajasthan, the three weeks in Karnataka are the longest that the Bharat Jodo Yatra participants will spend in a state on their route. But the factions in Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) appear to be struggling to unite, with Shivakumar pulling up party colleagues for allegedly not stepping up to make the yatra a success.In a meeting on Friday, Shivakumar hit out at the SIddaramaiah faction. “The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has appointed a separate team under Sunil (political strategist Sunil Kanugolu) to conduct political analysis on a daily basis,” he said. “There are about 600 people across the constituencies who are watching all the Congress’s probable candidates. We may know or may not know them. They are looking into all the sitting, defeated, and aspiring MLAs.”Naming former state Congress chief RV Deshpande, Shivakumar said, “I asked Deshpande to get 5,000 people from his constituency for BJY (Bharat Jodo Yatra). He said he can’t get people as his constituency is far away. Can’t we just do this for one day for the sake of Rahul Gandhi?”On Sunday, Deshpande’s name was missing from a list of 18 committees set up to manage the yatra. The Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council, BK Hariprasad, is the state leader in charge of the yatra.According to some party insiders, the Siddaramaiah group is likely holding itself back as the yatra provides Shivakumar with the opportunity to showcase his organisational skills to the high command. Siddaramaiah himself is planning to hold a Rath Yatra. A Congress leader said the former CM’s march ahead of the Assembly polls would be on the lines of the Panchajanya Yatra led by former CM SM Krishna in 1999.At the Friday meeting, Shivakumar said the Freedom March that the party organised in Bengaluru on August 15 was better planned unlike Siddaramotsva, or Siddaramaiah’s birthday celebrations earlier that month that saw massive participation from people. “During Siddaramotsava, a lot of people were stuck in traffic and it was not planned properly but when it came to the Freedom March, it was well-planned and everything was hassle-free.”The relationship between the two leaders worsened following the announcement of Siddaramaiah’s birthday being celebrated in a grand manner by his supporters. Shivakumar said the party did not believe in worshipping individuals but changed his position after Rahul and general secretary KC Venugopal backed the birthday celebration plans. The two leaders are expected to be the front-runners for the chief minister’s post if the Congress returns to power next year.Siddaramaiah was recently said to be unhappy about not being informed about a meeting between Shivakumar and Randeep Singh Surjewala, the central leader in charge of Karnataka. Initially, he refused to participate in the meeting but others later convinced him to attend the talks. Recently, Siddaramaiah’s picture did not feature on hoardings that the party put up for an event in Raichur.Many old-timers do not consider the former CM a “real Congressman” as he joined the party only in 2006 after decades of association with the Janata Parivar. While Shivakumar has been able to keep the party on track since taking charge of the state unit in 2020 and has the advantage of being from the dominant Vokkaliga community from south Karnataka, SIddaramaiah, who is from the backward class Kuruba community, is also crucial for the Congress’s poll matrix as the party will want to consolidate his ‘AHINDA’ base. AHINDA stands for “Alpasankhyataru (minorities)”, “Hindulidavaru (Backward Classes)” and Dalit vote base.

Now Bharat Jodo Yatra divides Karnataka Cong, open blame game among the top two
Days before defection, Goa body gave police nod to prosecute Lobos
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: The North Goa planning and development authority (NGPDA) has granted its approval to Mapusa police to prosecute Calangute MLA and former leader of opposition Michael Lobo, and his wife, Siolim MLA Delilah Lobo, in the alleged land filling case at Parra. The NGPDA falls under TCP minister Vishwajit Rane. The Lobo couple were among the eight former Congress MLAs who defected to BJP on Wednesday. A senior government official said that the permission to go ahead with the prosecution was given before the Lobos joined BJP. Michael said on Saturday that the case was political as he was in the “other party”. “There was no land filling. It is agricultural land, and if they want, I will remove that mud. It is an access for other farmers to take agricultural equipment to other fields.” FIR was filed against Lobo, wife for illegal land filling at ParraMapusa police had written to the TCP department seeking permission to prosecute the Lobos. The department then forwarded the request to the NGPDA, which granted its consent. Mapusa police inspector Paresh Naik confirmed that they have received the letter from NGPDA with regards to prosecution. In May 2022, Mapusa police had registered an FIR against the Lobo couple for illegal filling of land at Parra. The FIR had been registered based on a complaint filed by NGPDA. The Lobos have been booked under Section 17B of the Goa Town and Country Planning Act, 1974, under which the offence is punishable with imprisonment of one year and fine of Rs 1 lakh or both. The FIR had stated that the illegality was carried out at Parra prior to November 11, 2020, when Michael was a minister in the BJP government. He held the waste management and science and technology portfolios from July 2019 till he resigned and switched to Congress ahead of the 2022 polls. Any land area which is 50cm or lower from the adjoining ground area is classified as low-lying. The NGPDA had told the police that it had received a complaint from Rama Matondkar that the land had been filled up with mud up to four meters. The NGPDA had said that an inspection confirmed the illegality.

Days before defection, Goa body gave police nod to prosecute Lobos
Cong: Beach cleaning agency inefficient, contract a scam
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Panaji: The huge amount of trash collected from Goa’s beaches as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day proves the inefficiency of the agency tasked with keeping Goa’s beaches clean, Congress said on Saturday. Congress state president Amit Patkar further alleged that the contract awarded to Karnataka Commercial and Industrial Corporation (KCIC) Pvt Ltd is a scam. “It is shocking to see chief minister Pramod Sawant, Union minister Shripad Naik, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte and BJP president Sadanand Tanawade collecting huge garbage from various beaches across Goa. This proves that the beach cleaning contractor appointed by the government is not doing anything,” Patkar added.In October 2019, the department of tourism awarded the beach cleaning contract to the Bengaluru-based company. KCIC has been tasked with carrying out comprehensive beach cleaning services across 37 major beaches in Goa.To mark the International Coastal Cleanup Day, various agencies, students and citizens picked up plastic waste, torn nets, vegetation debris and other discarded material from Goa’s beaches. Sawant, Khaunte, the Indian Coast Guard and other agencies posted several photographs of the trash collected. Congress used these pictures to claim that their allegations of a scam are vindicated.“I urge new BJP MLAs Digambar Kamat and Aleixo Sequeira to demand with the chief minister to scrap the beach cleaning contract and save almost Rs 60 crore from the state exchequer,” Patkar said. “I appeal to the CM to organise such drives every week and engage local panchayats in beach cleaning work. They will do the work with cost effectiveness and our beaches will also remain clean.”The beach cleaning contract has been mired in allegations of corruption and inefficiency which had prompted the lokayukta to order an inquiry into the beach cleaning scam under the two contractors Ram Cleaners & Developers and Bhumika Cleantec Services.

Cong: Beach cleaning agency inefficient, contract a scam
Newsmakers of the Week | Ex-Goa Congress leaders, Bihar agriculture minister, J&K Gujjar leader
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Two Goa Congress leaders who jumped ship and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), J&K Gujjar leader who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, and Bihar minister who has created a stir by openly flagging corruption in his department — we bring to you the Newsmakers of the Week.Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar KamatThe most senior of the 11 Congress MLAs in Goa, former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat this week joined the BJP along with seven others. In April, in a rejig, the Congress made Kamat a permanent member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s top body. Kamat, who was the Leader of Opposition in the previous Assembly, was divested of any responsibilities in the state in the Congress’s bid to promote its next generation. He took a backseat after that and described himself as “retired hurt”. As he joins the BJP, a look at Kamat’s political journey.Former Congress leader Michael LoboAlong with Kamat, the other leaders who quit the Goa Congress last week include former Leader of Opposition (LoP) Michael Lobo. Two months ago, the Congress had accused Lobo of plotting a defection of its MLAs along with Kamat. It had then also sought the disqualification of Kamat and Lobo as MLAs. As Lobo returns to the BJP, read Mayura Janwalkar’s report on the three-time MLA from Calangute who was a minister in the previous BJP government led by chief minister Pramod Sawant but was often at odds with the government over statements he made in the press. More From Political PulseWith KCR in line of BJP fire in Telangana, TRS turns up heat on Modi govt policiesAshok Gehlot favours Rahul Gandhi as chief, Rajasthan Cong meeting supports moveHappy birthday, PM, but 'ideological and political' battles will continue, says OppnClick here for more J&K Gujjar leader Ghulam Ali KhatanaGhulam Ali Khatana, a BJP leader from the Gujjar Muslim community, may not be the first Gujjar leader from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to make it to the Rajya Sabha, but his nomination to the Upper House seems to have enthused the tribal community in the Union Territory. By nominating him to the Rajya Sabha, the BJP leadership has sought to not only send out a message to the nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals belonging to the Muslim community that it recognises their “nationalist” character, but also to its rank and file that party activists working silently would be rewarded. Read Arun Sharma’s report on the leader who played a role in creating awareness among Muslims in favour of the Centre’s move abrogating Article 370.CPM leader AN ShamseerHours after being elected Speaker of the Kerala Assembly, CPI(M) leader A N Shamseer earlier this week took to Facebook to quote British author George Eliot. “Never judge a book by its cover,” he wrote. Shamseer, whose mentor is former state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, had a reason to recollect the novelist’s words. It is a new chapter in the political career of the 45-year-old CPI(M) leader, who has been known for disrupting House proceedings on several occasions. Former speaker M B Rajesh pulled up Shamseer many times, urging him to maintain order in the House. Now, it is his turn to ensure the smooth running of the Assembly and protect the rights of the Opposition.Bihar agriculture minister and RJD leader Sudhakar SinghBihar agriculture minister and RJD MLA from Ramgarh, Sudhakar Singh, has created a stir by openly flagging corruption in his department and accusing his own government led by Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar of not listening to him. The son of state RJD president Jagdanand Singh, Sudhakar says he is not at all apologetic about calling himself “choron ke sardar”.

Newsmakers of the Week | Ex-Goa Congress leaders, Bihar agriculture minister, J&K Gujjar leader
Goa congress dissolves all its block committees
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: Two days after eight of its MLAs joined BJP, Congress on Friday dissolved all its block committees in the state with immediate effect. The block committees will be reconstituted in consultation with party workers in due course of time, state Congress general secretary Sunil Kawthankar said. Party president Amit Patkar said that the defeat of the BJP-supported candidate in the election for the Margao Municipal Council chairperson’s post has proved that the mandate is against the anti-democratic BJP. Ghanashyam Shirodkar, a candidate backed by GFP MLA Vijai Sardesai won the election. Congress is yet to elect a legislative party leader. It has been left with three MLAs — Yuri Alemao, Carlos Ferreira and Altone D’Costa — in the state assembly. A source said that Congress will take some time before a legislative party leader is elected and they are not yet sure if the party will be able to retain the post of opposition leader though it has more numbers than other opposition parties. The AAP has two seats, GFP and RGP one each. Though all the three Congress MLAs are first-timers, the source said, either Alemao or Ferreira may be elected to head the party’s legislative wing. “We want one of our three MLAs to be made the opposition leader, but we do not know what the others (parties) have in mind,” the source said. Congress has been without a legislative party leader since July, after the first attempt of its MLAs to leave the party failed. It had then declared that former opposition leader Michael Lobo will not be the legislative party leader.

Goa congress dissolves all its block committees
Party-hopping in Goa: ‘Family Raj & UT mentality’ among factors influencing voters
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Not its beaches or scenic beauty, Goa now finds itself in the spotlight for its precarious politics defined by moments such as the defection of eight Congress MLAs to the BJP on Wednesday, effecting the merger of two-thirds of the Congress Legislature Party with the BJP for the second time in three years.Defections, mergers, and resignations are not alien to the rest of India. But, given their frequency in Goa in the last 50-plus years, few in the state were surprised by the latest episode. Here are five broad factors that influence the people of Goa, once described as “ajeeb (strange)” by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, when they choose their public representatives.Just a very large villageWhat is striking about Goa’s politics is that Assembly constituencies are small and victory margins can sometimes be in two digits. Most MLAs know the residents of their constituencies by their first name. On festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, which is celebrated in Goa as Chovoth or Christmas, some MLAs visit the homes of nearly all their voters to greet them personally. They make assurances in terms of securing government jobs for their constituents or helping them get various permissions for their businesses.Former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who quit the BJP ahead of the Assembly election in February and contested as an Independent, said, “It is a small state with small constituencies. Where there are 25,000 to 30,000 voters, getting 10,000 can make you win. So what happens is that one can get about 4,000-5,000 votes on their goodwill or personal help that they may have extended to some people and about 5,000 to 6,000 votes can just be bought. Elections are like an investment and that is why MLAs want to be in power to recover these investments. I am not accusing all MLAs but this has been very common and it will not change until the people decide that their votes cannot be bought.”Personalities over partiesPolitical families in various parts of Goa have a tight grip on their constituencies and the voters have placed faith not on the parties that their MLAs belong to but on the individual, trusting them to get their work done. In various talukas, these families have been in power despite shifting loyalties from one party to another. Former Goa Chief Minister Pratap Singh Rane remained an undefeated Congress MLA in the Poriem seat of Sattari taluka for 45 years. But as soon as the octogenarian withdrew from the election fray before the Assembly polls this year, his daughter-in-law Deviya Rane made her political debut from Poriem as a BJP candidate and scored the highest winning margin of 13,943 in the state.Similarly, in the Tiswadi taluka of which Panaji is a part, Goa Revenue Minister Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate exerts a similar hold. He and his wife Jennifer have both been elected from the neighbouring constituencies of Panaji and Taleigao respectively on Congress tickets in the 2017 elections and a bypoll in 2019. They won this year’s Assembly polls from the BJP. Their son Rohit is the mayor of the Panaji city corporation.Double engine mattersWhile it may appear from a distance that party ideology does not seem to matter to the Goan electorate, the author of Ajeeb Goa’s Gajab politics (Strange Goa’s astonishing politics) Sandesh Prabhudesai begs to differ. “If that was the case, Michael Lobo would have never gone to the Congress. He comes from a Christian-dominated constituency, ” he said.The writer explained that Lobo’s previous victories from the BJP and that of five other Christian MLAs came at a time when the church had backed five Christian MLAs from the BJP to teach the Congress a lesson. He said, “Though the minority is about 25 per cent of the population in Goa, they are concentrated in 24 constituencies out of 40. That is more than half the constituencies. That is why even though they are a minority, they become the majority. It is a funny thing.”Prabhudesai also said that Goa had a “UT mentality”. “In 2014, the Narendra Modi government came to power at the Centre. In Goa, right from the beginning, the double-engine government has worked. Since it was a Union Territory (UT) before, it was dependent on the Centre. The mentality is also the UT mentality but by the time the 2022 election came, it was just not possible for the Church to support the BJP anymore. That’s the reason you’ll see many Christian MLAs of the BJP were defeated. You cannot say that the ideology does not matter anymore. For politicians, it may not matter but for the people it does,” the author said.Overlapping interests in land, businesses and politicsIn a state where tourism and, until 10 years ago, mining were the mainstays, many politicians have interests in these businesses or have been traditional landholders. Their businesses generate employment in their constituencies or in some constituencies, people may be beholden to them because they own land. Many MLAs across parties including have large interests in tourism. They own resorts and restaurants and tourism allied activities. Other MLAs are related to the mining business or allied mining activities, Prabhudesai pointed out.Religion and casteEven if the BJP is seen as a party pandering to its predominantly Hindu vote bank, the party formed its third consecutive government in a state that is still perceived as secular. While religion and caste do play a role in how elected representatives are chosen, they play out a little differently in Goa. Christian MLAs do win in seats dominated by the minority but some win even in seats dominated by Hindus like the Monserrates in Panaji and Taleigao. The Christian-dominated taluka of Salcete remains a hard turf for the BJP to break into but its Hindu MLA won a seat in the taluka this election – thanks to Opposition votes splitting three ways. But few play the religion or caste card in the election campaign.Academicians said candidates who win from various constituencies in the state generally represent the demographic of that constituency. Like a Christian candidate may win in a constituency that has a higher Christian population and similarly a Bhandari candidate may win in seats that have more Bhandari voters, but votes are never sought on those grounds.

Party-hopping in Goa: ‘Family Raj & UT mentality’ among factors influencing voters
  • Goa: ‘Unrecognised in party, left disappointed’
  • Times of India

    VASCO: Mormugao MLA Sankalp Amonkar, who joined BJP on Wednesday along with seven of his colleagues, said that he was forced to leave Congress as it failed to help grow his political career. "I have served the party for the past about 25 years. The party failed to recognise my hard work. I was expecting the GPCC president's post and leader of opposition, but the party leaders disappointed me. I was forced to leave the party amidst disappointments," Amonkar told TOI. Stating that he was always worried about developmental works in his constituency as also the employment issues facing the youth of Mormugao, Amonkar said, "These were possible only if I was in the ruling. I have gone through BJP's manifesto for Mormugao. I will see that all works listed are fulfilled." He said that he will ensure that all problems plaguing the constituency are resolved.

Goa: Each MLA was paid Rs 40 crore to quit Congress, says Gundu Rao
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: A day after eight MLAs deserted Congress, the party's Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged that each was given Rs 40 crore in addition to offers of ministerships and heads of corporations in a bid to split Congress. The legislators, he said, quit for "selfish reasons" and not for the development of their constituencies as some of them claimed. "One MLA was unwilling (to jump ship), and stakes went up to Rs 50 crore. They left purely because of money and power, and some due to the threats of action against them," Rao said. Terming the eight MLAs as "garbage", Rao said the first lot went in 2019, and the second lot, now. He apologised to the people and admitted that the party's judgment of the eight legislators was wrong. "No injustice was done to the MLAs," he said and explained that they were given tickets on the premise that they would work as responsible legislators whether in the government or in the opposition. "They have betrayed not just us but also the people of Goa and God. It is shameful what BJP and the eight MLAs have done." Rao also blamed former chief minister Digambar Kamat and former opposition leader Michael Lobo for breaking the party. The two, he said, were at the forefront of the split despite having taken the lead in pledging loyalty to Congress at a temple, church and mosque, and also signing affidavits ahead of the February 2022 polls. "We thought Lobo was a lion but he proved to be a rat," he said. "Congress is fighting BJP to stop the use of money and government institutions to grab power at any cost. Our fight will continue. The Bharat Jodo yatra led by Rahul Gandhi is to stop the wrongs of BJP." Stating that the party will be reorganised within a month, Rao said the three remaining Congress MLAs will be more effective and prove to be a strong opposition.

Goa: Each MLA was paid Rs 40 crore to quit Congress, says Gundu Rao
  • Day after Goa defections, Congress says BJP paid each of the 8 MLAs Rs 30-40 crore
  • The Indian Express

    A day after eight of its 11 MLAs left the party and joined the BJP, the Congress alleged that the BJP gave each of the legislators “Rs 30-40 crore” to make the switch.All India Congress Committee (AICC) Goa Desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said on Thursday that the reasons the MLAs defected to the BJP were “power, money and the threats of agencies or government action against them”.“I have collected information, each of these people were given Rs 30-40 crore. For one of our MLAs who was not ready to go, the stakes went up to Rs 50 crore plus a ministry. Where is the money coming from? The money is coming from big business houses, (from) all the corruption they are doing,” Rao said. “They spent Rs 240 crore on eight MLAs. Who funded them and for what purpose?” he asked.The BJP denied the allegations. “We did not go seeking any MLAs. They formed their group and said that they want to join our party. We have not given a single rupee to anyone or made any promises. They have come on their own and they have come unconditionally. The Congress only wants to make such allegations against us to divert people’s attention,” Sadanand Tanavade, the BJP’s Goa unit president, said.He also said the decision regarding the induction of the eight Congress MLAs was taken by the BJP’s central leadership: “The local unit cannot take such a big decision on its own… Had this proposal come to me personally, then I would have perhaps said no.” He said that the Congress MLAs had attempted a cross over in July, but the move did not come through. When they could gather the required numbers, they informed the BJP’s central leadership, which then asked the state leaders to induct them into the party, Tanavade said.Congress’s Rao said his party had erred in picking its election candidates. Regarding former Leader of Opposition Micheal Lobo, who came to the Congress from the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls in February only to return to the BJP on Wednesday, Rao said, “We thought he was a tiger but he turned out to be mouse.”While MLAs who defected, like Lobo and Sankalp Amonkar, had claimed that there was in-fighting in the Congress and that the party had been unfair to its long-time members and senior leaders, Rao rubbished their claims. “The Congress party has done no wrong, no injustice to these eight people… What they have done is shameful. It is like betraying your own mother,” he said.Rao, however, admitted that the Congress made a mistake in getting the Lobos — Micheal and his wife Delilah — on board. “I cannot say we are not at fault,” he said.“I humbly apologise to the people of Goa… Our judgement has gone wrong, I admit,” said Rao.Asked about the party not being able to keep its flock together, Rao said, “If somebody put Rs 30 crore in front of them, then what will we do? We cannot chain them.”Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox“People are angry with us, but we won’t stop. We will go out and win the hearts of the people… The Congress party has not split. Eight betrayers, eight frauds have left… We will take this as a challenge and go back to the people,” he said. He added that the Congress’s doors would be shut to them forever.Meanwhile, the Goa legislative Assembly notified the merger of two-thirds of the Congress’s legislature party with the BJP’s legislature party. “Hon’ble Speaker has taken note of the same and accordingly, seats are allotted to the (eight) members as members of Bhartiya Janata Party in the House,” the notification stated.Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that he would visit Delhi with the newly inducted MLAs, but the date was yet to be finalised. He said a meeting with BJP national president J P Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be lined up.

  • Goa: BJP lured away our eight MLAs by offering Rs 40-50 crore to each, claims Congress state in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: A day after eight Congress MLAs in Goa joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, the grand old party on Thursday accused the ruling outfit of luring away the legislators by offering Rs 40-50 crore to each one of them. Read AlsoEight of Cong’s 11 Goa MLAs break away, merge with BJPEight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque taking vows not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs “merged” the Goa Congress Legislature Party into BJP on Wednesday, taking the saffron party’sCongress's Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao, who arrived in Goa in the wake of the political developments in the coastal state, made these allegations in a press conference. The BJP, however, rubbished the charges saying that the eight Congress legislators joined the ruling party not for monetary gains but because they were impressed by its development agenda. The eight Congress MLAs, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, on Wednesday joined the ruling BJP, dealing a body blow to the opposition party which is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly. "Money to the tune of Rs 40-50 crore was paid to each MLA to switch over, or maybe they were having the fear of the central agencies. The national party (BJP) is doing such things everywhere. Where is all this money coming from? They are misusing the power. They are breaking the elected representatives," Rao alleged. The BJP is coming with thousands of crores of rupees and targeting the opposition MLAs through agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), he claimed. "Has even one ED notice been issued to any BJP MLA? This is the kind of politics that we are fighting against. If we don't fight, then the country will be destroyed," he said. Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Amit Patkar said one of the MLAs was initially approached (by the BJP) with Rs 30 crore cash, but he was not ready for that amount. Hence, in order to convince him, additional Rs 10 crore were offered to him within two hours. "But since he was not willing even after that, he was given Rs 5 crore more, only after which he agreed," he said without naming the MLA. During the press conference, Rao lashed out at Michael Lobo, one of the MLAs who joined the BJP, calling him a "rat". "We thought he (Lobo) was a lion, but he turned out to be a rat. There is no leadership quality in him," Rao said, adding that the Congress had consulted several people before giving a ticket to Lobo and they had given a positive feedback. "We thought that he will remain in the Congress. We gave him ticket and supported him. At that point of time, it was a right decision. We felt that his coming in was good for us. But it was a mistake for us to take such kind of a person," he said. The BJP retained power in the coastal state after the state Assembly elections in February this year. Before the Congress MLAs joined the BJP on Wednesday, the ruling party had 20 MLAs in the Assembly. The Congress' strength has now came down to three. BJP's Goa unit president Sadanad Shet Tanavade, however, dismissed the Congress's allegations. He said the eight legislators joined the BJP not for monetary gains, but because they were impressed by the party's development agenda. "BJP's central leadership gave a green signal to the induction of these eight MLAs, who have joined without any condition," Tanavade said. He said the Congress MLAs realised that their party was getting vanished and that the BJP was working on the agenda of development. PTI RPS KRK NP NP

Daily Briefing: Roger Federer retires; Vedanta told Maharashtra to seek ‘Central Govt alignment’; and more
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Good morning,🔴 End of an eraThe day most tennis fans were both expecting and dreading has arrived — Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer announced on Thursday that he was retiring from competition. “I am 41 years old; I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years,” Federer said in an audio clip posted on social media.🎾 His retirement comes just days after 19-year-old Carlos Alcatraz outran and outpowered yet another opponent to win his first Grand Slam to be the new World No.1. Tennis is changing. Of late, Federer’s supple and agile frame had made him look increasingly out of place on tennis courts. He was a throwback to the days when tennis was about strokes and not strides, Sandeep Dwivedi writes. 🎾 But to say his was no ordinary run, would be an understatement. At 41 years of age, Federer had gone far beyond when tennis players are expected to be relevant in the draws of big tournaments. When seen along with the retirement of another all-time great and icon Serena Williams, the sport has lost its last on-court connection with the 20th century.🎾 From the hot-headed teenager who cleaned toilets as punishment for throwing a racket, to the in-control graceful champion — Federer has come a long way. Read about his journey.Only in the ExpressAs the Maharashtra government continues to grapple with the aftermath of the Vedanta Group’s decision to shift its ambitious joint venture with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn to Gujarat, here is an interesting revelation:The Vedanta Group made two key requests to the Maharashtra government before finalising the location of its Rs 1.5-lakh-crore semiconductor facility in Talegaon, the proposed site near Pune: “Central government alignment” and state Cabinet approval. Both were outlined in a letter Maharashtra’s then-freshly appointed CM Eknath Shinde wrote to Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta Group. In his letter, he assured Agarwal that a “high-powered committee” had given an in-principle approval for the incentive package and this would be cleared by the state cabinet.In our opinion section today, Girish Kuber writes on how Maharashtra’s repeated loss of projects to Gujarat appears to indicate preferential treatment by the Centre.From the Front Page 🔴 Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Samarkand in Uzbekistan on Thursday night for the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which will also be attended by leaders of China, Pakistan, Russia. Modi will discuss topical, regional and global issues and enhance cooperation within the SCO.🔴 Six people were arrested on Thursday in connection with the alleged rape and murder case of two minor Dalit sisters, whose bodies were found hanging from a tree in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district.🔴Five female and three male African cheetahs will on Friday set off on a 10-hour, 8,000-km transcontinental journey to their new home at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. World’s leading expert on cheetahs, Dr Laurier Marker said that managing a human-animal conflict will be the biggest challenge in India.Must Read Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said that he “conveyed concerns” to his American counterpart Lloyd Auston on the United States’ decision to provide Pakistan with a $450 million package for the “F-16 Casse for sustainment and related equipment.” Why has the Biden Administration allocated the package and what’s the view from Delhi? We explain here.The Muslim appellants, who challenged the Hijab ban in Karnataka told the Supreme Court that B R Ambedkar’s statement, used in the High Court’s judgment, was “deeply offensive” and “totally biased,” and “is not a statement that should be repeated in India, great though he may have been.”And Finally 🤫 Delhi Confidential: Who will succeed Sonia Gandhi to lead the Congress. Just a week remains for the issuance of notification for election for the post of Congress president. Sources say Sonia is expected to return to India from abroad this evening. Most of the Congress leaders believe some clarity on the issue will emerge once she starts meeting leaders from Monday.🎧 In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we take a look at the Supreme Court’s latest order on BCCI, what Congress defections in Goa mean for the BJP, and the findings of the National Health Accounts report.Until tomorrow,Rahel Philipose and Varsha Sriram

Daily Briefing: Roger Federer retires; Vedanta told Maharashtra to seek ‘Central Govt alignment’; and more
Goa: Digambar Kamat gets a ‘call from god’, Goans ask for hotline number
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: The brazen move by eight Congress MLAs to break their vow and jump to BJP inspired a string of memes on social media platforms as the common man expressed displeasure with the hop, skip and jump displayed on Wednesday morning. Unable to deal with yet another political churn, the tech-savvy vented out in a no-holds barred effort to troll the legislators. Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, who claimed to have got the Almighty's blessings before changing his political loyalty, bore most of the brunt of the online satirists. From seeking matka numbers to calls for ordaining him as a cardinal, most people refused to fall for the former chief minister's claims of hearing heavenly voices. One particular meme that was quickly shared on WhatsApp said that Kamat spoke to God who informed him about the Kalyan matka winning combination of numbers. The meme went on to say that Kamat is the official spokesperson of God. Given that prayers of most devotees go unanswered, Michael Jude Gracias urged people to turn to Kamat for spiritual solace. "Devan tujem magnnem aikonk na zalear, Digambarak mell. Tache lagim Devacho hotline asa direct sorgar. (If God does not hear your prayers, go and meet Digambar. He has a hotline to heaven)," said Gracias. Kamat has attracted derision after he claimed that he went to a temple to explain to God his situation and his reason for joining BJP. Prior to the elections, he swore an oath at the Mahalaxmi temple in Panaji and the Fulancho Khuris shrine at Bambolim, promising not to defect and join BJP. On Wednesday, when asked by reporters about his earlier oath, Kamat said, "God told me to take a decision. He is with me." One of the memes circulating on social media Memes not only from Goa, but across countryImpressed by Kamat’s piety and discernment, a Delhibased communication specialist Aftab Shaikh said the Margao MLA should be consecrated as Goa’s second cardinal as “he can directly communicate with god.” On Twitter, The Goan Pao, who often has a humorous take on everything Goan, joined in the rib-tickling. “I wanted to eat five cutlet paos yesterday and then God told me to decide accordingly and he would support me,” said the handle, whose owner prefers to remain anonymous. While the truant legislators may have piqued the interest of political watchers, the situation also provided some relationship lessons for a local lass, Shreeya Kudchadkar. “I may have commitment issues but at least I’m not a Congress MLA in Goa,” she said. The memes were not limited to only Goans, with Hardeep Saggu from Bareilly issuing a light-hearted warning to Kamat. “Don’t meet God too often, he might end up liking you and might keep you with him forever,” said Saggu. Kamat’s prompt reply has also given employees a new way to befuddle their managers. Forensic expert Samiksha Govenkar said that the next time her manager asks her about not completing tasks, she has her reply ready. “I believe in God. I went to God and told him that I feel lazy today and asked him what to do. God told me to go ahead and skip work, I’m with you,” said Govenkar in a tweet.

Goa: Digambar Kamat gets a ‘call from god’, Goans ask for hotline number
  • Kamat gets a ‘call from god’, Goans ask for hotline number
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The brazen move by eight Congress MLAs to break their vow and jump to BJP inspired a string of memes on social media platforms as the common man expressed displeasure with the hop, skip and jump displayed on Wednesday morning. Unable to deal with yet another political churn, the tech-savvy vented out in a no-holds barred effort to troll the legislators.Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, who claimed to have got the Almighty’s blessings before changing his political loyalty, bore most of the brunt of the online satirists. From seeking matka numbers to calls for ordaining him as a cardinal, most people refused to fall for the former chief minister’s claims of hearing heavenly voices.One particular meme that was quickly shared on WhatsApp said that Kamat spoke to God who informed him about the Kalyan matka winning combination of numbers. The meme went on to say that Kamat is the official spokesperson of God.Given that prayers of most devotees go unanswered, Michael Jude Gracias urged people to turn to Kamat for spiritual solace. “Devan tujem magnnem aikonk na zalear, Digambarak mell. Tache lagim Devacho hotline asa direct sorgar. (If God does not hear your prayers, go and meet Digambar. He has a hotline to heaven),” said Gracias.Kamat has attracted derision after he claimed that he went to a temple to explain to God his situation and his reason for joining BJP. Prior to the elections, he swore an oath at the Mahalaxmi temple in Panaji and the Fulancho Khuris shrine at Bambolim, promising not to defect and join BJP. On Wednesday, when asked by reporters about his earlier oath, Kamat said, “God told me to take a decision. He is with me.”Impressed by Kamat’s piety and discernment, a Delhi-based communication specialist Aftab Shaikh said the Margao MLA should be consecrated as Goa’s second cardinal as “he can directly communicate with God.”On Twitter, The Goan Pao, who often has a humorous take on everything Goan, joined in the rib-tickling. “I wanted to eat five cutlet paos yesterday and then God told me to decide accordingly and he would support me,” said the handle, whose owner prefers to remain anonymous. While the truant legislators may have piqued the interest of political watchers, the situation also provided some relationship lessons for a local lass, Shreeya Kudchadkar. “I may have commitment issues but at least I’m not a Congress MLA in Goa,” she said. The memes were not limited to only Goans, with Hardeep Saggu from Bareilly issuing a light-hearted warning to Kamat. “Don’t meet God too often, he might end up liking you and might keep you with him forever,” said Saggu.Kamat’s prompt reply has also given employees a new way to befuddle their managers when they turn up late or well, do not turn up at all. Forensic expert Samiksha Govenkar said that the next time her manager asks her about not completing tasks, she has her reply ready. “I believe in God. I went to God and told him that I feel lazy today and asked him what to do. God told me to go ahead and skip work, I’m with you,” said Govenkar in a tweet.

Goa: Resentment among karyakartas, BJP in damage control mode
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: BJP's induction of eight Congress MLAs on Wednesday has created strong undercurrents of resentment within the party, especially among former MLAs and candidates picked for the 2022 assembly polls who now feel that their chances of contesting on a BJP ticket in the future have turned bleaker. To allay the situation, Goa BJP's core committee held a crucial meeting on Thursday morning. Later, chief minister Pramod Sawant and BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade were entrusted with the task of pacifying the former MLAs, candidates and mandals by holding meetings constituency-wise. "Once the Centre takes a decision, the party stands behind it. Party karyakartas are important for BJP and that is the reason Sawant and I will ourselves go and meet them and tell them about the decision," Tanavade said. In the meanwhile, political equations have drastically changed in seven of the eight constituencies where BJP has inducted Congress MLAs. These include Saligao, Siolim, Calangute, Mormugao, Margao, Cumbharjua and Santa Cruz. Political observers say that while BJP got the upper hand in Margao and Cumbharjua after Congress MLAs joined it, those aspiring for tickets from within the party have been left dejected. Sawant should protect interest of BJP’s strong team of karyakartas in Margao, says AjgaonkarA case in point is Cumbarjua, where the struggle of Union minister Shripad’s Naik’s son Siddesh to land a BJP ticket is only likely to continue with the induction of Congress MLA Rajesh Faldessai. Siddesh had been eyeing the BJP ticket ahead of the assembly elections in February, but had to be content with stepping aside after the party decided to pick sitting MLA Pandurang Madkaikar’s wife, Janita. He was, however, rewarded with the post of North Goa ZP adhyaksha for not revolting against the party. Similarly in Margao, former deputy chief minister Manohar Ajgaonkar told TOI that he was not consulted about the induction of Congress’ Digambar Kamat. “Sawant should protect the interest of BJP’s strong team of karyakartas that is active in Margao, including BJP candidate Sharmad Raiturkar who has always taken Kamat head-on. These karyakartas should not be orphaned,” he said. Ahead of the 2022 assembly elections, the party faced a revolt in Saligao upon it inducting former GFP minister Jayesh Salgaonkar. Disenchanted BJP karyakartas threw their weight behind Kedar Naik instead, who went on to win on a Congress ticket and has now joined BJP. Wednesday’s developments also prompted many former BJP MLAs and candidates to go incommunicado. Among them is former BJP MLA Dayanand Mandrekar, whose political career is likely to be at stake over the induction of incumbent Siolim legislator, Delilah Lobo. “Mandrekar is our senior leader and we have not been able to contact him, but the chief minister will meet him,” Tanavade said. BJP’s Calangute candidate Joseph Sequeira said he wasn’t consulted before the induction of Delilah’s husband and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo into the party fold. “I am a BJP executive committee member and even then, I was not consulted. After he (Lobo) joined, one person had sought my reaction. I told that person the party has taken a decision and that I stand by the party,” Sequeira told TOI. In Mormugao, three-time former MLA Milind Naik, who was dropped from the Pramod Sawant cabinet over an alleged sex scandal, will struggle to revive his political career now that Sankalp Amonkar has joined the party. While BJP has never emerged victorious in Santa Cruz, it has managed to represent the constituency after inducting Congress MLAs — Antonio Fernandes during the previous government’s tenure and now, Rodolfo Fernandes.

Goa: Resentment among karyakartas, BJP in damage control mode
Goa: Won’t have taken Cong MLAs if I had to decide, says Sadanand Shet Tanavade
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: A day after BJP inducted eight Congress MLAs into its fold, party state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade on Thursday said that if the proposal to induct eight Congress MLAs into BJP had come to him, then at a personal level, he would have declined it. However, it was the party's central leadership that directed the local unit to induct the eight, he said. "BJP is a national party. The local unit cannot take such a big decision. This decision has been taken at the central level. Eight Congress MLAs had met in Delhi. Once we get directions from the central leadership it does not matter whether we agree to it or not. If the proposal had come to me, at a personal level, I would have said no. The proposal was not before me. The central leadership told us to take them into the party and we have taken them," Tanavade said. Elaborating on his statement, Tanavade said that his statement is in his personal capacity, but as he is the BJP state president he is bound by the decision of central leadership. He said that in July, Congress MLAs had tried to join BJP. "We were told that they will join BJP and even Union minister Bhupender Yadav had arrived in the state, but after waiting for a whole day, the Congress MLAs failed to get the numbers and the plan was unsuccessful," Tanavade said. ‘Central leadership told us to induct them’Tanavade said that after the Congress MLAs were able to get the requisite numbers they approached BJP central leadership and again showed willingness to join the party. “Our central leadership called us and told us to induct them and accordingly on Wednesday they were inducted,” Tanavade said. TOI had reported on Thursday that the local BJP unit was not very keen on inducting additional Congress MLAs, but it was the Congress MLAs who pursued the matter with BJP’s central leadership. Besides former chief minister Digambar Kamat (Margao), Leader of the Opposition Michael Lobo (Calangute), Aleixo Sequeira (Nuvem), Rudolf Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Michael’s wife Delilah (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao) and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua) joined BJP on Wednesday

Goa: Won’t have taken Cong MLAs if I had to decide, says Sadanand Shet Tanavade
Each MLA was paid Rs 40cr to quit Cong: Gundu Rao
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Panaji: A day after eight MLAs deserted Congress, the party’s Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged that each was given Rs 40 crore in addition to offers of ministerships and heads of corporations in a bid to split Congress.The legislators, he said, quit for “selfish reasons” and not for the development of their constituencies as some of them claimed. “One MLA was unwilling (to jump ship), and stakes went up to Rs 50 crore. They left purely because of money and power, and some due to the threats of action against them,” Rao said.Terming the eight MLAs as “garbage”, Rao said the first lot went in 2019, and the second lot, now. He apologised to the people and admitted that the party’s judgment of the eight legislators was wrong. “No injustice was done to the MLAs,” he said and explained that they were given tickets on the premise that they would work as responsible legislators whether in the government or in the opposition. “They have betrayed not just us but also the people of Goa and God. It is shameful what BJP and the eight MLAs have done.”Rao also blamed former chief minister Digambar Kamat and former opposition leader Michael Lobo for breaking the party. The two, he said, were at the forefront of the split despite having taken the lead in pledging loyalty to Congress at a temple, church and mosque, and also signing affidavits ahead of the February 2022 polls. “We thought Lobo was a lion but he proved to be a rat,” he said. “Congress is fighting BJP to stop the use of money and government institutions to grab power at any cost. Our fight will continue. The Bharat Jodo yatra led by Rahul Gandhi is to stop the wrongs of BJP.” Stating that the party will be reorganised within a month, Rao said the three remaining Congress MLAs will be more effective and prove to be a strong opposition.

Each MLA was paid Rs 40cr to quit Cong: Gundu Rao
And then there were three: Ex-Advocate General to pilot to hotelier, the Goa MLAs standing by Congress
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Barely one kilometre apart, the scenes at the Goa unit headquarters of the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress in Panaji appeared to be a study in contrasts on Wednesday. While neither of the party offices is spacious, both have a small dais with a space for about five chairs that is used for press conferences and other events.At the BJP office on the Atmaram Borkar Marg, the dais fell far short of accommodating senior Goa party leaders, including Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and eight Congress MLAs who crossed over to the BJP prompting this induction event.At Congress House on the busy Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, however, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president, Amit Patkar, sat comfortably on the stage with what was left of the party in the Goa Legislative Assembly – its three MLAs, including former Goa Advocate General Carlos Ferreira, commercial pilot Yuri Alemao and hotelier Altone D’costa. All of them are first-time legislators and Christians. While Ferreira represents the Aldona constituency in North Goa, Alemao and D’costa represent Cuncolim and Quepem constituencies, respectively, in South Goa.Putting up a brave face at the press event on Wednesday, Patkar, 38, who took over as the GPCC president following the state Assembly polls earlier this year, said despite losing eight defector MLAs, including the former Leader of the Opposition, to the BJP, the party still had moral ground, ethics and integrity. “I am very proud of our three MLAs. It’s not that they did not face any pressure. They may not talk about it. But they have stood by their principles, values and sanskaar…” he said.In July, a week after the first attempt of the Congress MLAs at defection was foiled, the party leadership had got its five MLAs flown to Chennai for a weekend “to avoid pressure tactics and threats.” For a merger of the legislature party with any other party, the consenting MLAs have to be present before the Speaker, even as at least two-thirds of a party’s MLAs have to consent to the merger to circumvent the anti-defection law. With five MLAs away, the defectors could not have gathered eight of the total 11 MLAs to proceed with their plan.The All India Congress Committee (AICC)’s Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao had then said that the Congress MLAs were in Tamil Nadu, where the Congress is part of the ruling DMK-led alliance, “voluntarily to avoid incessant attempts, continuous calls, pressure tactics and threats” made by the BJP. The five MLAs that the Congress had cloistered in Chennai included Sankalp Amonkar and Rudolfo Fernandes, who later joined the group of eight defectors.One of the Goa Congress’s prominent legal faces, Ferreira, joined politics ahead of the Assembly polls, and contested from Aldona seat on the Congress ticket, defeating the two-time BJP MLA Glen Ticlo with a margin of 1823 votes.Perhaps the most affable of the Congress’s 11 MLAs, Ferreira had garnered the goodwill even of his political opponents. However, in July when the defection pot came to a boil, his name too had surfaced among the would-be defectors. His was perhaps the most “shocking” name on that list. While both their names did the rounds in July, Ferreira and D’Costa eventually stayed with the Congress.“In the art of war you always pretend you are attacking one side and you attack the other side,” Ferreira said. “This is our chance to revive the Congress party. The rot has been removed. The rot can finish your whole house but now we will come together to revive the party.”Ferreira conceded that the affidavits that the election candidates had filed pledging their loyalty to the Congress had no legal standing. He however pointed out that the July 2019 defection of 10 Congress MLAs was still under litigation since a petition filed by former GPCC president Girish Chodankar seeking their disqualification has been pending in the Supreme Court.Yuri Alemao, son of ex-Congress MLA and minister Joaquim Alemao, said he was not present on that January day when the oath-taking event was held by the Congress poll candidates at various places of worship, but it was his conscience that had kept him back in the grand old party.He said the defection was unfortunate, saying “You can defy physics, gravity but how can these guys defy God? That is a million dollar question. They don’t even fear God… We have promised the people that we will stay loyal for five years and people voted us… I am not a commodity that can be purchased. There is no price tag on my head. There have to be values. You have to be loyal to the party.”Alemao’s seat Cuncolim, won by his father in 2002 and 2007, has traditionally voted for the Congress. The example of his predecessor from the constituency, Clafasio Dias, who was among the 10 Congress defector MLAs in 2019 and lost the 2022 election as the BJP candidate, may also have acted as a deterrent for Alemao.D’costa had pulled off a surprise victory by defeating Quepem MLA and ex-deputy CM Chandrakant Kavlekar on his turf. Kavlekar, former Leader of the Opposition, had led the 10 Congress MLAs’ defection in 2019. D’costa trounced him by 3,601 votes.Choosing to stick by the Congress, D’costa said, “Destiny takes you to your destination. I stand by principles and beliefs which were taught by my parents, my elders. I am grateful that the Congress party gave me a ticket to contest. I was just an ordinary person among the party’s workers. The people of Quepem voted for me as a Congress candidate and I can still face them. I am a principled, god-fearing person and I am really satisfied I stood by my principles. We will stay with the party and work towards its growth.”

And then there were three: Ex-Advocate General to pilot to hotelier, the Goa MLAs standing by Congress