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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Goa: First sitting BJP MLA quits to join AAP

🔴 With her resignation, the 40-member Goa legislative assembly now has 35 members.

By: Express News Service | Panaji |
Updated: December 17, 2021 2:41:23 pm
Alina Saldanha, sitting BJP MLA from Cortalim, joined Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter @ArvindKejriwal)

AMID POLITICAL shifts in poll-bound Goa, Alina Saldanha became the first MLA to quit the BJP on Thursday. After submitting her resignation to the Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly in the morning, Saldanha, former environment and forest minister and MLA from Cortalim in South Goa, joined the Aam Aadmi Party.

With her resignation, the 40-member Goa legislative assembly now has 35 members.

Saldanha took the place of former tourism minister and her late husband Matanhy Saldanha, who died of cardiac arrest in 2012. She was the environment minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led government in 2012.

“I have resigned because the party that late Mathany Saldanha had joined is not the same. It seems to have forgotten all its principles, and there is bedlam in the state. Nobody knows who is coming and who is joining,” said Saldanha.

She claimed that, at a party meeting on Wednesday, a sentence by a party “stalwart” helped her take the call. “It made me realise that it is time for me to leave. Are people who have stood by the party being respected?” she asked.

In the evening, she joined the AAP in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“I am happy to welcome Alina Saldanha, sitting BJP MLA from Cortalim to Aam Aadmi Party. Together, we will take forward the legacy of Late Matanhy Saldanha and steer Goa to a path of prosperity and corruption-free governance,” Chief Minister Kejriwal tweeted.

Goa BJP President Sadanand Tanavade, however, said the BJP had decided to expel Saldanha. “In the last two years, she had engaged in anti-party activities. We had decided to expel her on Wednesday, and we sent a notice to the Speaker for the same and then she then resigned. She sent us the her resignation at 8.23pm after she went to Delhi and joined the AAP. We will take necessary legal action.”

As a BJP MLA, Saldanha had been vocal about her opposition to the doubling of railway track from Castle Rock to Vasco – one of the three linear projects facing staunch opposition from environmentalists. She said her opposition to the project would continue.

Meanwhile, independent MLA Rohan Khaunte, who resigned on Wednesday, is set to join the BJP on Friday. Khaunte had also attacked the party

felling of trees in the Mollem forest over the three linear projects in the assembly. He, however, said he had taken the decision after consulting people in his constituency.

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