Disaffected by the denial of ticket by the BJP for the Mapusa bypoll, former MMC chairperson Sudhir Kandolkar quit the BJP on Sunday and joined the Congress within hours after quitting along with 350 supporters.
Local political leader Vinod alias Babu Phadke extended his support to the candidature of Kandolkar.
Highly-placed sources said that Kandolkar will most likely get Congress ticket for the Mapusa bypoll.
On Saturday, the BJP nominated Joshua D’Souza, son of former deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza, for the Mapusa seat, which antagonised Kandolkar.
The angered Kandolkar held a meeting with his supporters on Sunday morning at Morod to decide the future course of action.
Later, he resigned from the BJP.
On Sunday evening, he joined the Congress at an induction function held at the North Goa Congress district office. The function was attended by senior Congress leaders including GPCC president Girish Chodankar, Pratapsing Rane, Opposition leader Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar, MLAs Digambar Kamat, Nilkanth Halarnkar and Alexio Reginald Lawrence, former Union minister Ramakant Khalap and North Goa Congress president Vijay Bhike.
Welcoming Kandolkar into the Congress, Chodankar said the Mapusa block committee and the North Goa committee are happy that a grassroots-level leader and councillor, who has good standing in Mapusa and outside Mapusa, has joined the Congress.
“Kandolkar, who worked hard and played an important role in getting Francis D’Souza elected, is with us now,” GPCC chief announced.
Speaking on his joining the Congress, Kandolkar said, “If I make a commitment then I ensure success. I was with the BJP and worked loyally in that party… With the support of the Congress and my friend Phadke I will work for Mapusa and its people. I will work for the Congress loyally.”
Earlier on Sunday, addressing his supporters at Morod, he alleged that TCP Minister Vijay Sardesai interfered in the selection of the BJP candidate for the Mapusa seat.
Kavlekar said that Kandolkar had given a commitment to Francis D’Souza, and since the former deputy chief minister is no more alive Kandolkar has now joined the Congress.
Kamat and Khalap also spoke at the induction function, pinning their high hopes on Kandolkar in giving a big-push to the Congress in Mapusa.
Standing solidly behind Kandolkar, Phadke said, “I am here to support Kandolkar, I have not left the MGP. We all have to work together to defeat the BJP in Mapusa.”