Goa minister Michael Lobo and BJP MLA Pravin Zantye resigned from the party as well as the Legislative Assembly on Monday, ahead of the state polls scheduled next month. The Goa BJP unit later said such moves will not affect the party’s prospects in the state Assembly elections, to be held on February 14.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said “a few defections” cannot deter the agenda of good governance and expressed confidence that people of Goa will vote his party to power for another term. Lobo, who represented the Calangute Assembly constituency and held charge of the state port and waste management departments, submitted his resignation to the chief minister’s office and the Goa Assembly’s Speaker in the morning.
He is likely to join the Congress, according to sources. I have resigned from both the posts. I will see what steps are to be taken next. I have also resigned from the BJP, Lobo later told reporters.
Asked whether he will join the Congress, Lobo said he is in talks with other political parties. He claimed that people were unhappy with the ruling BJP in the coastal state.
“The voters told me that the BJP is no more a party of the common people, he said, while claiming that the grass-root level workers were feeling ignored by the party. A couple of hours later, Zantye, who represented the Mayem Assembly segment, also tendered his resignation from the BJP and the state Assembly.
Zantye told reporters that he had joined the BJP at the behest of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, and claimed that after the latter’s death, he was sidelined in the party. He also claimed that his constituency faced the problem of unemployment, which the state government “failed” to address. Meanwhile, CM Sawant in a tweet said, Bharatiya Janata Party is a big family that continues to serve the motherland with full devotion! A few defections, to fulfil the agenda of greed and personal interests cannot deter our agenda of good governance.
Goan people have seen BJP’s governance and development model for a decade and I am sure that they will give us another term in their service. Jai Hind, Jai Goa, the chief minister said in another tweet. Goa BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade said Lobo’s decision to leave the party will have no impact on its prospects in the upcoming state polls.
Lobo had left the party long back and he was only physically present with us, Tanavade said. He may have left, but other workers in the Calangute Assembly constituency are with the party, he said.
The BJP will field a fresh candidate to retain the Calangute Assembly seat in the elections, Tanavade said. The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced that elections to all 40 Assembly constituencies in Goa would be held on February 14.
The BJP, Congress, Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress Party (TMC), and NCP are the main political parties in the fray. In the 2017 Goa Assembly polls, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party, but it failed to form government.
The BJP had then tied-up with some regional outfits and independents to come to power in the coastal state. The Congress currently has only two MLAs in the state.