‘Goa president Amit Patkar did talk to the MLAs, what more could he have done?’


NEW DELHI: It was widely speculated before the elections that Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat would leave the Congress after Assembly elections. Moreover, it was believed in political circles that Lobo who had left the BJP and joined Congress is going to lure some MLAs within Congress to later jump ship. The old Congressman and former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat was also assumed to play a lead role in defections. Such speculation and assumptions were proven right this week when the Congress’ 8 MLAs chose to join the BJP. The party had won 11 Assembly seats early this year. After defections, it is down to three MLAs.
A senior Congress leader in the state said, “Yes, that is true, there were rumours about some leaders who would just lure more MLAs within the Congress to jump ship after the elections are over. But we as a political party had ventured out to win the elections. We had to take some risks.”
A party insider said that after the Assembly elections and up until this week, the Congress had resisted two to three defection attempts and countered the BJP. However, party leaders said that the situation was out of control. A party leader said, “Goa president Amit Patkar did talk to the MLAs, what more could he have done?”
According to party leaders, it was conveyed to the MLAs that the party will strengthen itself and could come to power next time, so they should stay in Congress. “They were told that they should continue fighting for the people of Goa,” a party leader said.
Another party leader said, “It was a compromise by the Congress accepting people from outside. In the whole process, nobody talked to Digambar Kamat. Moreover, it is the failure of Goa Pradesh President Amit Patkar. He wants to win brownie points against Kamat.” However, despite repeated calls, Amit Patkar and the state in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao did not respond. Winning the most number of seats, 17 out of 40, in the 2017 Assembly elections, the party could not form a government and the MLAs started deserting the party. And before the 2022 elections, Congress was left with only 2 MLAs. A Congress leader said, the party was desperate to take potential candidates who could win seats in the 2022.
Amarnath Panjika, Media Chairman of Goa Pradesh Congress, told The Sunday Guardian: “Those MLAs who left the party never professed that they are going to leave the party. Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao came to Goa before the Bharat Jodo Yatra, then meetings were held regularly. It was believed that these MLAs are going to leave the party. The party leadership tried to convince them. What more could the leadership have done to avert the issue? The party leadership tried its best to keep the flock together.”