Tuesday, March 28, 2023

BJP lured 8 Goa Cong MLAs by offering Rs 40-50 cr each: Rao

A day after eight Congress MLAs in Goa joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, the grand old party on Thursday accused the ruling outfit of luring away the legislators by offering Rs 40-50 crore to each one of them.
Congress’s Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao, who arrived in Goa in the wake of the political developments in the coastal state, made these allegations in a press conference here.
The BJP, however, rubbished the charges saying that the eight Congress legislators joined the ruling party not for monetary gains but because they were impressed by its development agenda.
The eight Congress MLAs, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, on Wednesday joined the ruling BJP, dealing a body blow to the opposition party which is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly.
“Money to the tune of Rs 40-50 crore was paid to each MLA to switch over, or maybe they were having the fear of the central agencies. The national party (BJP) is doing such things everywhere. Where is all this money coming from? They are misusing the power. They are breaking the elected representatives,” Rao alleged.
The BJP is coming with thousands of crores of rupees and targeting the opposition MLAs through agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), he claimed.
“Has even one ED notice been issued to any BJP MLA? This is the kind of politics that we are fighting against. If we don’t fight, then the country will be destroyed,” he said.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Amit Patkar said one of the MLAs was initially approached (by the BJP) with Rs 30 crore cash, but he was not ready for that amount. Hence, in order to convince him, additional Rs 10 crore were offered to him within two hours.
“But since he was not willing even after that, he was given Rs 5 crore more, only after which he agreed,” he said without naming the MLA.
During the press conference, Rao lashed out at Michael Lobo, one of the MLAs who joined the BJP, calling him a “rat”.
“We thought he (Lobo) was a lion, but he turned out to be a rat. There is no leadership quality in him,” Rao said, adding that the Congress had consulted several people before giving a ticket to Lobo and they had given a positive feedback.
“We thought that he will remain in the Congress. We gave him ticket and supported him. At that point of time, it was a right decision. We felt that his coming in was good for us. But it was a mistake for us to take such kind of a person,” he said.
The BJP retained power in the coastal state after the state Assembly elections in February this year. Before the Congress MLAs joined the BJP on Wednesday, the ruling party had 20 MLAs in the Assembly. The Congress’ strength has now came down to three.
BJP’s Goa unit president Sadanad Shet Tanavade, however, dismissed the Congress’s allegations.
He said the eight legislators joined the BJP not for monetary gains, but because they were impressed by the party’s development agenda.
“BJP’s central leadership gave a green signal to the induction of these eight MLAs, who have joined without any condition,” Tanavade said.
He said the Congress MLAs realised that their party was getting vanished and that the BJP was working on the agenda of development.


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