Goa: BJP Minister quits before elections; may join Congress
Goa Minister Michael Lobo on Monday resigned as a minister and as an MLA ahead of assembly elections in the state scheduled next month. Lobo said he has also resigned from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Lobo—who represented the Calangute constituency—was the state waste management minister in the Pramod Sawant-led BJP government. He is reportedly likely to join the rival Congress party.
Why does this story matter?
- Assembly elections in Goa are scheduled to be held on February 14.
- In the 2017 polls, despite failing to secure a majority in the 40-member assembly, the BJP formed a government in Goa with help from local parties.
- However, the ruling BJP faces a stiff challenge from Congress this time.
- Lobo's exit may further dent the party's prospects in the upcoming Goa polls.
BJP no more party of common man: Lobo
"The voters told me that the BJP is no more a party of the common people," Lobo said. "I will see what steps are to be taken next," he added. Amid reports that he will likely join Congress, Lobo claimed that he was in talks with other parties. "Whichever party I join, I will ensure that they win maximum seats," he added.
Lobo was critical of his party lately
Notably, Lobo had had a public fallout with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and had criticized the party openly in recent months. He had criticized the BJP, saying it is not the party that former CM Manohar Parrikar had built. He has claimed that the BJP sidelined leaders close to Parrikar. On Monday, Lobo had said that grassroots BJP workers were feeling ignored.
Lobo likely to join Congress today: Reports
Before his resignation, speculations were rife about Lobo joining Congress. Reportedly, Lobo will join Congress on Monday at 4 pm. However, his speculated entry into Congress has stirred some discontent among party workers, NDTV reported. Lobo has reportedly pitched a list of candidates, including his wife, Delilah Lobo. The BJP was reportedly not keen on giving candidacy to Delilah.
Lobo's exit may hurt BJP in Bardesh
Lobo is a strongman from North Goa, and his exit may dent BJP's prospects in Goa's Bardesh. Notably, the region has six assembly seats, including Lobo's own Calangute constituency. His exit may also trigger his supporters to break away from the BJP. This is evident as reports claimed a strong Lobo supporter from Reis Magos is also likely to join Congress with Lobo.
Who all are contesting Goa assembly polls?
Assembly polls in Goa will see the participation of BJP, Congress, Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The strength of the Goa state assembly is 40 seats. In 2017, the BJP won 13 seats, while Congress, GFP, MGP, and NCP won 17, three, three, and one seat, respectively.