Updated: January 11, 2022 1:46:13 am
TWO-TIME BJP MLA Michael Lobo resigned from the Assembly and the party on Monday, becoming the first minister to leave the BJP amid the series of defections ahead of Goa polls. The Port and Waste Management Minister in the Pramod Sawant government, Lobo is likely to join the Congress on Tuesday.
Soon after Lobo’s resignation, Pravin Zantye announced his departure as BJP MLA, and said he was headed for the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). A former BJP ally, the MGP has entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Trinamool Congress.
“My association with the BJP has been 15 years long, so I feel very sad and pained. The BJP does not want a worker like me,” Lobo, a political heavyweight in the Bardez taluka, said, adding that he wanted to leave “nicely” and not be thrown out.
What he learnt in the BJP under the late Manohar Parrikar will stay with him, Lobo added, but the party no longer valued its grass-root workers. He said many in the party had told him so. “They said the party has become so big, it has no place for small people like us. It is bringing new leaders.”
Zantye, a former Congressman who won from Mayem in North Goa in 2017 on a BJP ticket, said he had joined the BJP on Parrikar’s appeal and that the party had changed after Parrikar’s death. “I am joining the MGP because I want to be in a party that will work for the people.”
Zantye’s exit comes days after the BJP inducted an MGP leader who is likely to be fielded from Mayem.
There have been ample signs from Lobo regarding his plans. Months earlier, he began campaigning for his wife Delilah, the sarpanch of Parra village panchayat, in Siolim seat. He also endorsed a Congress candidate from Mapusa, and campaigned alongside a probable Congress candidate from Saligao. Last week, he launched the ‘Together for Bardez’ movement and said he would be campaigning to ensure the six Assembly constituencies of the taluka get good candidates.
Playing down the impact of Lobo’s exit, CM Sawant tweeted, “A few defections, to fulfil the agenda of greed and personal interests cannot deter our agenda of good governance.”
Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade said they had been expecting Lobo’s resignation. “For about a year he has been with the party physically but not mentally… When he decided that he wanted a ticket for his wife, he had also decided to sever ties with the BJP.” Tanavade also tweeted, “… all these resignations are due to personal reasons where they are either unlikely to get the ticket or are greedy for more than one ticket in the family”.
In response, Congress Goa desk incharge Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted: “He is the president of the same party which engineered defections from all parties just to grab power.”
Initially, Lobo and Delilah were expected to be inducted into the Congress on Monday evening. However, this was put off to Tuesday after some block-level leaders of the Congress reportedly expressed displeasure over his entry into the party.
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