Former MLA Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate joined the Congress on Thursday and the national party is expected to name him as the Panjim Candidate for the bypolls. With Monserrate entering the political fight officially, Congress stands to have a significant chance winning the Panjim constituency, an assembly seat now vacant with the demise of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar.
Monserrate who was supporting Vijai Sardesai and Goa Forward split from the party last week to officially join the Congress party. Speaking on his decision, Monserrate said it was like a homecoming for him and a decision he took after considerable thought.
“After roaming everywhere I have decided it’s time for homecoming. You can call it that. I realised that people had a trust deficit as they always wondered as an independent will I jump, and if I jump which party will I join. I have realised now. I went around in the last few months and the message is loud and clear…I made the decision based on that. I should have listened to the voice of people,” said Monserrate at a press meet at the Panjim headquarters of Congress.
With Monserrate joining the Congress, the party has also secured seats of four other MLAs including Monserrate’s wife Jennifer Monserrate. Courtesy his entry they are expected to now remain with the Congress.
“You can say it’s the return of the prodigal son. The son has learnt a lesson roaming everywhere,” he added. Passing a remark on Congress leader Luiziho Faleiro, he said, “Also, I never left the party. The ex-president removed me from the party. I am here now to defeat the BJP.”
Digambar Kamat, campaign head for Congress and former CM said, “Monserrate is joining us to give a message loud and clear to the people of Goa. The procedure has begun and we are expected to announce the name soon.”
On Thursday Congress headquarters got a new lease of life, as party state president Girish Chodankar admitted, “our small office is falling short of supporters for Babush..the impact of this decision can be already seen. We have been getting calls since morning with people having waited for this announcement.”
Chodankar who is the North Goa candidate for Congress for the parliamentary seat said, “the entry of Babush” also gives a “boost to the campaign for Lok Sabha seats”.
Congress meanwhile, also released the manifesto promising a solution to sustainable mining and also to job opportunities in the state. It also promised to denotify rivers in Goa listed for the Sagarmala project and take the voice of fisherfolk to the centre with regards to CRZ.