June 20, 2021 4:17:18 am
All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Goa, Dinesh Gundu Rao, on Saturday said the party had shut its doors to MLAs who had defected to BJP and “backstabbed the party” in 2019. He, however, made a distinction between Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane, who resigned from Congress to join the BJP in 2017, and the ten MLAs who won elections on a Congress ticket and then jumped ship in 2019.
“Defectors have backstabbed us. They have betrayed us. We will not take such people back. We have to end this virus. Goa can’t have this kind of politics going on forever. We have to put a stop to this. They are still elected members of the Congress,” Rao, who will complete his four-day visit to Goa on Sunday, said.
Asked about Rane’s possible return to the Congress, Rao said, “He has not defected. He has resigned from the party.” He refused to comment further on taking Rane back into the party fold.
Amid the crisis over Covid management in the state, the rift between Rane and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant became increasingly conspicuous with their differing views on imposition of a lockdown.
The Congress was left with five MLAs in the 40-member Goa legislative assembly after ten of its MLAs joined BJP in 2019. With the state scheduled to go to polls in February-March 2022, Rao, said that the party will be twice as careful while selecting its candidates, however, there was little it could do to stop defections.
“There is nothing we can to do ensure there are no defections. When a political party is using all kinds of unethical means – using IT, ED, money power, all kinds of things – there will be some people who will yield to that. But people of Goa have to teach these people a lesson. When we select our candidates this time we will be doubly careful. We know what the BJP is capable of,” Rao said at an address at the Congress House in Panaji.
“There is total chaos in Goa. The CM says one thing, then the health minister says one more thing. They were prescribing medicines when they were not approved properly… People have died looking for oxygen. There was a complete collapse of administration. And the CM of Goa does not have the experience or proper guidance and he doesn’t even have any control over his government. There is this clash within his own government, lack of trust between the ministers, corruption, all they are interested in is to implement projects where they can make more money. Whether Goa’s environment is destroyed, whether people of Goa want it or not, that was not their priority. Their priority was where they could make money. Who are these crony capitalists? Helping them was the program of the state government. This is the most corrupt government in the country today…” said Rao.
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