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BJP minister, wife likely to join Congress; independent MLA returns to party fold

🔴 Lobo may be the first minister to quit the ruling BJP ahead of the polls in Goa. Sources said he and his wife Delilah Lobo, Sarpanch of Parra Village Panchayat, are both expected to join the Congress.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Panaji |
Updated: January 10, 2022 7:23:39 am
Another vice-president of the Congress' state unit, Chaltonlien Amo, switched over to the ruling BJP on January 9. (Representational)

After months of speculation over his exit from the BJP, Goa ports minister Micheal Lobo may finally put the rumours to rest. Lobo, who was seen campaigning door-to-door alongside a Congress leader in the Saligaon assembly constituency on Sunday is likely to join the Congress on Monday.

Lobo may be the first minister to quit the ruling BJP ahead of the legislative assembly polls in Goa on February 14. According to political sources, Lobo and his wife Delilah Lobo, Sarparch of the Parra Village Panchayat, in Bardez taluka in North Goa, are both expected to join the Congress.

On Sunday, Lobo campaigned with Kedar Naik, probable candidate of the Congress from Saligaon, in Guirim village in Saligaon assembly constituency. Naik kick-started his campaign by visiting a temple during which Lobo accompanied him. Naik, who joined the Congress on on January 5 from the BJP, said that he had started his campaign “with the blessings of God, his supporters and Micheal sir”. His supported shouted slogans of both “Kedar Naik tum aage badho” and “Micheal Lobo tum aage badho.”

Asked what a BJP MLA was doing campaigning alongside a Congress leader, Lobo said, “I will answer your question tomorrow. Today is legislators’ day and I don’t want to say anything.” Lobo, who, launched the ‘Together for Bardez’ movement in the Bardez taluka that has six assembly constituencies, said, “The step we take forward is in the interest of the people of Goa. People want good candidates, good MLAs. People have to decide today and their decision should be Goa. There should be good MLAs that back one party, not tod-fod (turncoats). One party needs to get the full mandatae, 22 seats and run (the government) for 5 years. Not take one from here, there, steal one from here or there. If we have to strengthen the government we have to have good MLAs,” Lobo told reporters.

About Lobo’s possible entry into the party on Monday, Congress Goa desk incharge Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “As of now he is in the BJP so I don’t want to comment on it.”

On Sunday, independent MLA form the Sanguem legislative assembly constituency Prasad Gaonkar also joined the Congress after submitting his resignation to legislative assembly speaker Rajesh Patnekar. Gaonkar, who had first pledged support to the TMC, later changed his mind and came on board with the Congress-Goa Forward Party (GFP) alliance. A prominent leader from the ST community, Gaonkar, a former Congressman, returned to the party fold on Sunday in the presence of Rao. “He has added strength to the Congress party, not only in his constituency but also around. He will play a major role in helping the Congress party come to power in the coming assembly election,” said Rao.

On Sunday, the Congress party also declared its second list of candidates announcing names of seven more candidates. Captain Viriato Fernandes, a prominent environmental and social activist from South Goa who joined the party last month by invitation, was declared as the candidate from Dabolim, the assembly constituency of incumbent transport and Panchayati Raj minister Mauvin Godinho. Rao also announced that the Congress had allotted two seats of Fatorda in South Goa and Mayem in the North to its alliance partner Goa Forward Party. GFP President Vijai Sardesai is the sitting MLA from Fatorda.

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