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3 Cong MLAs draw flak from Saxtikars

Refuting the MLAs’ claim that they have changed sides for serving the people of their constituencies and not for greed of power, many voters from Nuvem, Velim and Cuncolim felt that they have done so only for self gains

Roque Dias | NT

Margao: The decision of three Salcete Congress legislators to merge with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with seven other Congress MLAs has drawn a lot of flak from the people of Salcete taluka especially from members of the minority communities, who voted for them as they were Congress candidates.

Nuvem MLA Wilfred D’Sa, Cuncolim MLA Clafacio Dias and Velim MLA Filipe Neri Rodrigues are part of the 10-member Congress MLAs group who on Wednesday night joined the BJP, by getting around the anti-defection law and avoiding disqualification.

Though the MLAs claim that they have changed sides for serving the people of their constituencies and not for greed of power, many members of minority communities in Nuvem, Velim and Cuncolim, refuting their claim felt that they have done so only for self gains with some of them expecting to get breather from court cases they face. 

The electorates still remember how the former MLA and Minister Avertano Furtado and former Velim MLA Benjamin D’Silva were shown the door by people after they had extended support to BJP government.

One J Colaco from Nuvem recalls that the said MLAs had sought votes on secular credentials and to keep the BJP at bay adding, “By switching over sides and joining BJP, they have taken people for a ride.”

“Our MLA has shown his true colours. The move is purely for self gains,” said Floriano Colaco, a Nuvem villager. 

Jose Roque Andrade opined that people cast their votes based on certain ideologies and norms and when they are betrayed, they are bound to feel cheated.

However, supporters of Wilfred D’Sa, who were with the Nuvem legislator at his residence for the crucial pre-merger meeting on Tuesday, said that developmental works in the constituency had come to a halt as he was in the opposition.

“The MLA has not joined BJP out of love, but for the sake of development,’’ a close supporter of the Nuvem MLA said.

People in Cuncolim were not prepared to come on record but were visibly upset with the move of their legislator joining the BJP.

On conditions of anonymity, several people from Cuncolim, particularly from the bazaar areas, termed it as betrayal of the Congress party workers.

“He should resign and re-contest on BJP ticket,” said an aged person S Fernandes.

A banker from Cuncolim added, “Goan politics has stooped to a new low.  There has to be a change in the law where punitive action against such legislators is required.’’

A supporter of Cuncolim MLA said the election-related enmity between people still prevails while the MLA has silently switched over to the BJP. However, interestingly, a supporter of the MLA alleged that a GFP minister was obstructing development works in the area and therefore the MLA was upset.

People from Velim are also keeping a close eye on their MLA’s move, but for them this is nothing new as they have witnessed such switchover in the past.

They are now keeping their fingers crossed because they were tipped that their MLA would become a minister in the BJP government.

Terming the switchover as a mockery of democracy and betrayal to the 10,000 electorate who had voted for him, former Assolna panch member Savio Ferreira said, “I personally have lost faith in the election process as I am not sure that the person I vote based on ideology and principles will stand by the same.”

Another electorate A D’Silva from Velim said, “As a voter I feel betrayed as the mandate was against the BJP and had voted for the Congress based on the ideology and principles of the party, today I feel cheated. If the MLA wanted to change parties he had a duty to reach out to the people who had voted for him. It’s a shame.”

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