log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 GOA Focus on MMC chief election as Digambar returns to BJP Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday 14 pages PRICE ` 8 2 The Goan (Playstore) PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VIII, NO. 88 GOA Churchill turned facilitator in Cong defection, but on one condition! 3 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 INFO Can migraine decrease the risk of diabetes in women? 9 SPORTS Mumbai City beat Mohammedan Sporting to reach Durand Cup final 14 CONGRESS CHHODO, BJP JODO AGAIN HEAVYWEIGHTS DIGAMBAR, LOBO, ALEIXO AMONG 8 TO QUIT CONGRESS SAFFRON PARTY’S TALLY ALONE IS NOW 28 CONGRESS REDUCED TO THREE THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI In yet another political low for Goa, the seed of defection sown back in July, finally sprouted on its political turf on Wednesday. Eight of the eleven Congress MLAs, led by the Leader of the Opposition, Michael Lobo, jumped the aisle and joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Apart from Lobo and his wife Delilah, the group of eight includes former chief minister Digambar Kamat, Aleixo Sequeira, Sankalp Amonkar, Rudolf Fernandes, Kedar Naik and Rajesh Faldessai. The group set the ball of defection rolling early Wednesday morning when they first met at the chamber of the Opposition Leader in the Goa legislative assembly complex. They called it a ‘Congress Legislature Party’ meeting where they said they passed a resolution to split the party and merge with the BJP. Speaker completes merger formalities The eight Congress MLAs including former CM Digambar Kamat and Opposition Leader Michael Lobo formally inducted into BJP at Panaji office in the presence of CM Pramod Sawant and BJP Goa President Sadanand Shet Tanavade. The scene then shifted to the chamber of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and eventually to the BJP State headquarters in Panaji where the eight MLAs were formally inducted into the party with each of them being handed over their membership certificate. Wednesday’s development has depleted the Congress’ numbers in the 40-member House to just three -- Carlos Ferreira Alvares, Yuri Alemao and Altone D’Costa. The Sawant-led BJP on the other hand has buttressed its numerical strength to 28 and consequently the strength of the treasury benches has gone up to 33. Five more legislators in the ruling coalition are accounted for by Power Minister Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavalikar and Jit Arolkar of the MGP, besides three Independents in Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, Dr Chandrakant Shetye and Anton Vas. On the other side of the aisle, the strength of the Opposition benches is now sev- PANAJI: Formalities related to the merger of legislative wing of the Congress party comprising of 8 Congress MLAs with BJP in Goa were completed by Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Wednesday evening. Tawadkar who was in Delhi since the past few days arrived in the State in the evening. en. In addition to the three Congress MLAs, the Opposition benches has two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs -Venzy Viegas and Cruz Silva -- and one MLA apiece of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) in Vijai Sardesai and Viresh Borkar respectively. This is the third time in re- WHAT THEY SAID... Yes I had taken oath before God that I will not leave the Congress. I am a man who has faith in God. I went back before God and asked him what to do in the present circumstances. He said, you go ahead — Digambar Kamat cent history that the Congress has faced a defection of its MLAs which has been led by its Opposition Leader. The last time it happened was in July 2019 when former Deputy Chief Minister Chandrakant (Babu) Kavlekar led a 10-member group to the other side. Prior to that, current Agriculture Minister Ravi Naik had switched sides along with three others back in the year 2000, when he occupied the Opposition Leader’s post. The current wave of defections meanwhile had been The people had been telling us to go. We have to listen, we are their representatives — Michael Lobo Have not sought a single pie or any position in government to join the BJP — Aleixo Sequeira on the political agenda of the State since July 12, when the Congress had claimed that five of its MLAs had gone incognito. The developments then had led the party removing Lobo as Opposition Leader and launching disqualification proceedings against him and Kamat. However, the principal Opposition party remained indecisive on the question of naming the new CLP leader, thus letting Lobo to technically continue in that position up until Wednesday’s defection. ON PAGE 3 People forced me to join BJP for development: Faldessai Sought opinion of supporters before joining BJP: Rudolf Joined BJP because of voters, development: Amonkar Pledge was not to bring BJP to power: Delilah With the figure of defectors touching eight, it accounts for the provision of the antidefection law (Xth Schedule of the Constitution) which stipulates that at least 2/3rd of the strength of a party’s legislators is a must for a merger with another political party. Nonetheless, the Congress meanwhile has said it will challenge in a court of law the validity of Wednesday’s developments claimed to be a ‘merger’ by its eight former MLAs. Bardez in spotlight as Lobo Congress questions Cong reduced to one seat is back in saffron brigade legality of defection in its bastion of Salcete CALANGUTE MLA EXPECTED TO GET CABINET BERTH THE GOAN I NETWORK MAPUSA With new equations taking shape, Bardez is back in the spotlight and there are indications that the politically sensitive taluka may witness a rejig in distribution of cabinet berths. The largest chunk – three out of the eight legislators that quit Congress – are from Bardez, which has tilted the balance in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the taluka. Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, who has once again played a key role to breakaway from Congress and join the BJP along with his wife and the neighbouring Saligao MLA, is expected to be rewarded for his crucial role. There is a high possibility that BJP may drop Fisheries Minister and Tivim MLA, Nilkant Halarnkar who appears to be a soft target and replace him with Calangute MLA Michael Lobo. Lobo, who enjoys a very good equation with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, was first made a minister in the previous Sawant government in 2019. A special ministry was carved out on Lobo’s request and he was made the Waste Management Minister. IN SHORT >> Anti-coal protestors welcome chargesheet MARGAO: Anti-coal protestors charged by the Goa police for unlawful assembly and restraining traffic at Chandor during the historic midnight agitation on November 1-2, 2020 on Wednesday welcomed with smiles the fresh charge sheet filed against them, saying they feel proud that they are being charged for saving Goa from destruction. >> See pg 2 WEATHER >> Max: 28 C Min: 26 C Humidity: 85% TIDES Low: High: 07:32 02:02 20:00 13:16 Says disqualification petition pending against Kamat, Lobo THE GOAN I NETWORK The Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo in his chamber in the Goa legislative assembly complex along with other seven Congress MLAs before defecting to the BJP. BARDEZ EQUATION Three out of the eight legislators that quit Congress – Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, his wife Siolim MLA Delilah Lobo and Saligao MLA Kedar Naik – are from Bardez Lobo, who enjoys a very good equation with CM Pramod Sawant, was first made a minister in the previous Sawant government in 2019 Bardez got maximum representation in the cabinet when BJP first came to power with a simple majority under the leadership of late Manohar Parrikar in 2012 Bardez got maximum representation in the cabinet when BJP first came to power with a simple majority under the leadership of late Manohar Parrikar in 2012. Three BJP MLAs – then Mapusa MLA late Francis D’Souza (Babush), Saligao MLA Dilip Parulekar and Siolim MLA Dayanand Mandrekar – were all made ministers in Parrikar’s cabinet in 2012. Then again in 2017, BJP’s alliance government gave three representations in the taluka with Francis D’Souza (Babush) becoming the deputy CM while Goa Forward’s MLAs Jayesh Salgaonkar (Saligao) and Vinoda Paliencar (Siolim) were also sworn in as ministers. However, mid-way in 2019 after the MGP and GFP ministers were dropped from the >Continued on P5 PANAJI An embarrassed Congress party has questioned the legality of the defection referring to a disqualification petition pending against Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo ~ who are among the eight defectors. “We will examine the papers submitted by the eight defecting MLAs. The defection is not as per the law. Congress had filed a disqualification petition against Lobo and Kamat, and as such their inclusion as part of two-thirds required for the merger will be questioned,” Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira said at a press conference held with the remaining two MLAs, Yuri Alemao and Altone D’Costa along with the office bearers in the party office on Wednesday. Ferreira recalled that former Party President Girish Chodankar’s petition challenging the defection of 10 MLAs from Congress to BJP in 2019 is pending before the Supreme Court and its further hearing is expected in October or November. “Its ruling will have national ramifications,” Ferreira said. The party has also decided to undergo a revival, a step repeated after every election defeat and defection. Upset with the development, GPCC President Amit Patkar said he was deeply pained while referring to BJP’s panic over Bharat Jodo Yatra. “The CM boasted about having numbers and a majority. So why does he take more MLAs? Its time to cleanse our party and give the people of Goa true leaders to save our beautiful State,” the Aldona MLA added. Quepem MLA Altone D’Costa assured to stick to his and the party’s principles and the values taught by his parents. “I have been elected to the Congress party, for the next five years we will work for the party and >Continued on P5 THE GOAN I NETWORK MARGAO Wednesday’s political developments unfolding in the State has reduced the Congress to just one seat in the party’s bastion Salcete. In fact, the BJP followed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will have more MLAs than the Congress in the minority stronghold. Post-defection, the position of the political parties in Salcete is as follows, BJP (three seats), AAP (two) and the Congress, Goa Forward and Independent Reginaldo Lourenco one seat each. Perhaps the first time in the recent political history, the Congress tally of seats has come down to just one with Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao being the lone party MLA in the Goa Legislative Assembly. In the 2022 Assembly election, the Congress had put up a poor show with the party winning just three of the eight seats at stake, including the seats of Nuvem, Margao and Cuncolim represented by MLA Aleixo Sequeira, Digambar Kamat and Yuri Alemao. After the political developments on Wednesday, wherein both Digambar Kamat and Aleixo Sequeira teamed up with six other MLAs to quit the party to embrace the BJP, the party has been left with a single MLA in the minority stronghold of Salcete. SALCETE EQUATION In fact, the BJP followed by the AAP will have more MLAs than the Congress in the minority stronghold Post-defection, the position of the political parties in Salcete -- BJP (3 seats), AAP (2) and the Congress, Goa Forward and Independent Reginaldo Lourenco one seat each Congress Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao is the lone party MLA in the Goa Legislative Assembly Boost to BJP, party tally up to 3 MARGAO: The BJP received a big bonus on Wednesday when the Lotus bloomed overnight in Margao and the minority stronghold of Nuvem, taking the tally of BJP seats in minority stronghold to three. Malbhat comes alive as supporters throng to endorse Kamat’s move >> See pg 2 The only time when the party had put up a poor showing in Salcete was in the 2012 Assembly polls, when the party’s tally of seats in Salcete was reduced to just two, when Digambar Kamat and Reginaldo Lourenco managed to retain their seats. Incidentally, the Congress regained its base in Salcete in the 2017 election by winning as many as six seats, taking the party’s total tally of seats to 17 in the Assembly. The party, however, suffered a major setback in 2019 when three of the party MLAs, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Wilfred D’Sa and Clafacio Dias, quit the party to form a two-third group to join the saffron brigade. It’s another matter that all the three MLAs bit the dust in the 2022 elections. Commenting on the developments, Congress only MLA in Salcete, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao tweeted that he is trained to fly an aircraft and trained to navigate through turbulence. “I have responsibility to fulfill my commitment given to Cuncolkars and Goemkars. I will work hard with utmost dedication and honesty to live up to the expectations of people of Goa. God is great,” Yuri asserted. Assailant attacks woman in Why ‘Operation Kamal’ in Goa now GAME OF ONE-UPMANSHIP? Panaji, questions over safety THE GOAN I NETWORK POLICE REGISTER NC, FAMILY SEEKS FIR THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI A busy residential area in the heart of Panaji saw a woman violently attacked by an unknown person as this shocking incident has raised questions about women’s safety, particularly at a time when the State is reeling under an increase in crime rate. Josefa Pinto, a teacher by profession and wife of noted veterinary doctor Gustav Pinto sustained injuries as an unknown miscreant violently beat her in the building that was non-illuminated. Dr Pinto Unaware that the assailant was hiding in the building, Josefa walked towards our apartment. The man, who we strongly suspect is a migrant, pushed her to the ground, slammed her head on the wall, kicked in her stomach, and nearly stomped on her — Dr Gustav Pinto, husband of victim narrated the ordeal on behalf of his wife, who has been left traumatised after the incident that occurred in the wee hours of September 9-10. “Unaware that the assailant was hiding in the building, Josefa walked towards our apartment. The man, who we strongly suspect is a migrant, pushed her to the ground, slammed her head on the wall, kicked in her stomach, and nearly stomped on her,” >Continued on P5 PANAJI t has been more than two months that Goa’s political atmosphere was pregnant with an imminent cloudburst of Bharatiya Janata Party-induced defections, or what is coming to be referred to nationally as ‘Operation Kamal’. On Wednesday, ‘Operation Kamal’ was finally executed here in Goa with visible haste and the trigger, at least for the BJP lies in the exigencies of national politics rather than the State’s. Couldn’t have been clearer when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at his Wednesday’s press conference after the formalities were done, said: “Congress started the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, but I think I Wednesday’s improvement of the BJP party’s own strength to 28 will diminish the bargaining power of ally MGP and the supporting independents More importantly for ‘Congress Chhodo Yatra’ has started in Goa. People from across the country are leaving Congress and joining BJP.” Wednesday’s defection of the eight Congress MLAs has helped the BJP steal a march in driving the narrative in national politics, where several parties occupying the Sawant himself, the new equations will give him room and muscle to ward off the nagging game of one-upmanship he faces from his competitor for the top post -- TCP Minister Vishwajit Rane Opposition space, including the Congress, are in a churn to take guard for the 2024 battle, a senior BJP leader told The Goan. According to the leader, a former MP who did not want to be identified, the party has recently suffered setbacks in its muscular political power- play nationally in Bihar and Jharkhand, after its success in winning back power in Maharashtra. The trend had to be reversed and Goa, which was already a project in planning, came in handy, he added. After the Maharashtra triumph, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dumped the BJP but retained the government with a mahagathbandhan alongwith the RJD and Congress. Later in Jharkhand, Chief Minister Hemant Soren hastened a confidence vote and won it to thwart a suspected ‘Operation Kamal’ attempt. Not that there will not be any political advantages for the BJP and Sawant in particular from Wednesday’s >Continued on P5
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