Panaji: The entry of ten Congress legislators has given a big boost to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, as its strength rose to 27, which is close to three-fourth of the composition of the state assembly.
The BJP now has 18 of its legislators, who were Congressmen at one time or the other.
The entry of Chandrakant Kavlekar, who was the leader of Congress legislature party, has also opened a new chapter, as it is for the first time in the history of state legislature that a leader of opposition party has crossed floor with others to join the ruling party.
The trend of switching loyalties was started by Vishwajit Rane, who was elected on Congress ticket from Valpoi. He resigned his seat and joined BJP soon after taking oath as a legislator in March 2017. He was later elected on BJP ticket.
Thereafter, two more Congress legislators – Dayanand Sopte (Mandrem) and Subhash Shirodkar (Shiroda) – quit Congress last year to join BJP for ‘development’ of their constituencies. They got re-elected as BJP nominees in the by-elections held in April this year.
The latest to join the BJP bandwagon have been Congressmen for most of their political careers with exceptions being Isidore Fernandes and Atanasio Monserrate, who were associated with BJP in the
past and this is re-entry for them.
Likewise, Pravin Zantye (Mayem), Rajesh Patnekar, (Bicholim), Pandurang Madkaikar (Cumbharjua) and Mauvin Godinho (Dabolim) who contested as BJP nominees and won were associated with Congress before. Similarly, Manohar Azgaonkar was also a Congress leader till he crossed over to Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party on the eve of 2017 assembly elections.