The BJP may have faced a lot of flak for roping in tainted Congress MLAs and other leaders from the party weeks before the February 4 elections, but the decision to induct them may have just helped the BJP save some face in Goa on Saturday, when it is facing a tough contest from the Congress.
The BJP inducted two sitting MLAs, namely Mauvin Godinho and Pandurang Madkaikar, from the Congress in December. While Godinho won the Dabolim assembly seat by defeating his nearest rival from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party by a margin of 2,494 votes, Madkaikar won the Cumbharjua seat by 8,434 votes, beating Congress candidate Xavier Fialho.
Speaking to reporters after he was announced the winner, Madkaikar justified his move to join the BJP. “I was confident of winning these elections. Joining BJP helped me all the more. The margin shows that,” he said.
Madkaikar and Godinho had been repeatedly accused of corruption by the BJP, whose leaders had also filed corruption cases against the duo in the past.
At the time of their induction into the BJP, the state party leadership including Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had to face a lot of flak from the Opposition, which accused them of doing a u-turn on graft charges.
The BJP, which won 21 seats in the 40-member Goa legislative assembly in 2012, is currently tied with the Congress, with both parties winning 12 seats each out of the 33 constituencies where results have been announced. Both the Congress and the BJP have also secured leads in two constituencies each.
Among others who were inducted in the BJP from the Congress party on the eve of the February 4 polls, is newly elected MLA from Bicholim Pravin Zantye, who defeated Congress candidate Santosh Sawant by 4,974 votes.
Speaking to IANS after being declared winner, Zantye said that he had to overcome disgruntled elements in the BJP to emerge victorious. “I had to fight the Congress as well as some people within my party to earn this victory,” Zantye said.
Zantye’s entry into the BJP had irked sitting MLA and Speaker Anant Shet, who was denied a ticket by the saffron party.
Vijay Pai Khot, who is contesting the Canacona assembly seat, is yet another candidate who had been roped into the BJP from the Congress. Counting for the Canacona assembly seat is still on.