Despite oath of not leaving party, Goa Congress MLAs switch to BJP

New Delhi, Sep 14 : Ahead of the assembly elections in Goa the Congress had administered an oath that the elected MLAS will not leave the party but on Wednesday 8 MLAS switched to the BJP leaving the Congress in shock. The Congress had P Chidambaram as senior election observer and Dinesh Gundu Rao as state in-charge. Both of them failed in the elections as the BJP swept to power. The turncoats had been in the BJP earlier. Digambar Kamat, an old BJP hand, switched to the Congress and was made chief minister and has now defected again. Similarly Michael Lobo and his wife were also in the BJP. P Chidambaram said, "Carlos Ferreira, Yuri Alemao and Altone D' Costa stand tall and proud among the ranks of Honourable MLAs, I salute them for their steadfast loyalty to God, their party, their electorate and their principles". He said the curse of Goa's politics is the "buying" of MLAs. Since 2014, there is a wholesale buyer in the Indian market. On January 22, three dozen Congress candidates for the assembly elections pledged their loyalty to the party at three religious institutions; a temple, a church and a mosque, ahead of the February assembly polls in the state. The precaution was taken because of doubts in the voters' minds that the Congress candidates may defect to the BJP, following the mass defection of 10 Congress legislators to the BJP in July, 2019. The Congress lost 8 MLAs on Wednesday. Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar had said that the party had tweaked its candidate selection procedure to ensure that not a single elected MLA would be poached by rival parties after the 2022 polls. "Not a single MLA will break this time round. We have changed our selection process to that effect," he had said, Dinesh Gundu Rao, the in-charge of the Congress in Goa, on Wednesday termed the act of the MLAs who joined the BJP as the 'height of betrayal' and 'shamelessness'. "People of #Goa voted for these MLAs as they were @INCIndia candidates. They had sworn in front of temples, church & dargah that they will not defect to #BJP. They gave affidavits that they'll always be with the Congress and took a pledge on the Constitution," Rao tweeted. "Isn't this the height of betrayal and shamelessness by @digambarkamat, @MichaelLobo76 and the others," he stated while tagging Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo, who joined the BJP earlier in the day. Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Rajesh Faldesai, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes are the eight legislators who have switched sides. The first attempt to join the BJP was made on July 10, 2022, by these MLAs. However they had not succeeded. Even recently they tried again to gather eight, two-third, MLAs to avoid action under the anti-defection law. However, they failed the second time also. Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Wednesday said it was under God's guidance that he decided to quit the Congress and join the BJP. "God told me 'you take the decision, I am with you'. Hence I decided to join the BJP," the senior politician said. /IANS


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