Rohan Shrivastav | NT
Panaji: The plan of 10 Congress MLAs – comprising two-third majority to merge their party’s legislative wing into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was cooking up for over a considerable period.
There were several factors that led to the opposition MLAs joining BJP, which also include the conflict between the former leader of the CLP Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar and a senior leader of the party.
According to highly-placed sources in the party, Kavlekar was frequently humiliated by the particular senior leader during the CLP meetings and several internal meetings of the party. The senior leader was also dominating the CLP meetings and was not considering the suggestions of Kavlekar who was the Leader of Opposition.
Even though the plan for merger was in place for quite long, it was facilitated after Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate rejoined Congress and got elected from Panaji constituency in the May 19 by-poll.
Monserrate held meeting with all rebel MLAs at his private residence in Taleigao on two occasions where they finally decided to merge their party’s legislative wing into the BJP.
It was Monserrate along with the leader of the CLP Chandrakant Kavlekar who approached the local BJP leadership with the proposal for the merger, informed highly-placed sources.
“The proposal of the merger was contemplated even before the Lok Sabha election and by-elections to the four Assembly segments in the state. However, Kavlekar was not in favour to merge along with the particular senior leader, all nine MLAs waited for Monserrate to get elected from Panaji and that was the reason all of them canvassed for him for the Panaji by-poll,” the sources said.
The sources informed that Monserrate and Kavlekar were the ones who convinced the other eight MLAs for the merger as they both have serious criminal cases pending against them which they can either get dropped or with the government’s involvement they can get the cases presented by police in such a way that the charges are never proven in the courts.
Monserrate has two criminal cases against him which include the alleged rape of a minor girl and allegedly damaging the Panaji police station and allegedly causing injuries to police personnel while Kavlekar is being probed in the disproportionate assets case by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Directorate of Vigilance.
The sources informed that Kavlekar had even approached the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with a proposal to join BJP with a condition to get the said cases dropped, however the plan was put on hold as Parrikar took ill and subsequently went abroad for