Several BJP legislators in Goa, who had joined the party after quitting the Congress in 2019, are now lobbying with senior Congress leaders to return to the latter’s fold. Assembly polls in the state are due in February next year.
In 2019, 10 of the 15 Congress MLAs in Goa had joined the BJP government in the state.
These MLAs, many of them ministers in the Pramod Sawant-led BJP government in the state, are now lobbying with senior Congress leaders to get inducted in the party again and be given a ticket to contest the upcoming polls.
“Four to five have approached us asking to be inducted again. They are even asking for tickets for their wives and other relatives if they cannot be inducted, as they are neither sure of getting elected again on a BJP ticket or even getting a BJP ticket,” said a Congress leader from Goa. These MLAs are mostly from south Goa, traditionally a Congress bastion, he said.
“Yes, they have approached the party, not me personally, because they know my stand that I am staunchly opposed to these people being taken back,” said Girish Chodankar, state Congress chief. “We want to take a bold stand and stop these frequent jumping of ships. They have, however, approached other senior Congress leaders.”
He said, “These people have realised that the public sentiment is against them and the people of Goa would send a strong signal during the elections against these people if they contest in the BJP tickets.”
Chodankar said the party has not felt a loss due to these defections. “We have two to three good candidates for every seat. There is no dearth of good candidates,” he said.
State BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade said, “I will not comment on rumours.”
On whether every Congress MLA who joined the BJP will be given tickets, Tanavade said, “It’s too early to comment, it’s not in my hands. We have a procedure, we have an election committee, state committee and parliamentary board that discuss these issues.”