Highlights

  • Political party hopping in Goa
  • 70% of Goa's MLAs have changed sides
  • TMC debuts in Goa's upcoming election

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Goa Election 2022: Party (hopping) never stops in Goa, 70% MLAs have changed sides

Goa Election 2022: 70% of MLAs have changed their political loyalties in last 5 years and the party hopping continues

Party never stops in Goa. And when it comes to politics, party-hopping never stops in Goa. India's smallest state with just 40-member Assembly has seen at least 27 of its 40 MLAs switch parties in last five years. That's almost 70% of MLAs changing loyalties in one term.

According to Association for Democratic Reforms, this is a “unique and unparalleled record” in India’s democratic setup.

The Congress has been the biggest loser in the ever-buzzing party hopping season in Goa.

16 of the party's 17 MLAs have switched to the other parties, a bulk of them to the BJP, which hoodwinked the Congress into forming the govt in 2017, even though Congress was the single-largest party.

First blow came right after 2017 elections. Congress strongman Vishwajit Rane lef the House midway during the BJP govt's floor test and indirectly helped then CM Manohar Parrikar win the vote.

Vishwajit Rane soon joined the BJP, sought re-election and was inducted in the Cabinet.

Within a year, two other Congress leaders - Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar - resigned from the party and joined the BJP.

After Manohar Parrikar's demise in 2019, Pramod Sawant took charge as the Chief Minister of Goa.

BJP's ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party witnessed a split with two out of its three MLAs forming a separate group. Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar of the MGP eventually joined the BJP.

The MGP accused the BJP of engineering the split.

The biggest jolt to the Congress came in 2019 when 10 of its MLAs switched to the BJP. In the Panjim bypoll after Manohar Parrikar’s death, Congress leader Atanasio Monserrate won. But soon, Monserrate, along with his wife and eight other Congress MLAs, switched to the BJP. The Congress appeal against this mass scale defection is still pending In the court.

The momentum for party-switching has gone on ahead of the 2022 Assembly polls.

Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte and Goa Forward Party's Jayesh Salgaonkar, both believed to be close associates of GFP’s Vijai Sardesai, joined the BJP.

Senior Congress leader Ravi Naik also shifted from Congress to the BJP. Meanwhile, independent MLA and minister Govind Gaude joined the BJP too.

It became a running joke in Goa that the BJP govt had more Congress MLAs than its own and more Catholic MLAs than Hindu legislators.

The entry of Mamata Banerjee’s TMC also triggered a few switchovers. Former Goa Chief Minister and ex-Congress leader Luizionho Faleiro joined the TMC. Another Congress MLA, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, who had joined the TMC just a month ago, has already had another change of heart and has quit the Trinamool.

IN DEBUT POLL, TMC GOES SHOPPING IN GOA

Nationalist Congress Party’s sole MLA in Goa, Churchill Alemao, also shifted to the TMC.

It's not that the BJP has only gained from party-hopping. Its MLAs including Alina Saldanha and Michael Lobo have quit the ruling party. While Sladanha joined Aam Aadmi Party, Lobo went to the Congress. Senior MLA Pravin Zantye left the BJP for MGP.

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