A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator in Goa said on Monday he has quit the party and is set to join the ruling Congress in return for "100 government jobs" to his constituents and an election ticket promised by chief minister Digambar Kamat.
Rajesh Patnekar’s resignation, in return for a combination of an "assured" Congress ticket and "100 government jobs", comes ahead of the state assembly polls scheduled early next year. Chief election commissioner SY Quraishi has ordered a high-level probe into the hurried recruitment of thousands of youngsters into government service by the Congress-led coalition government with an eye to the polls.
“I have been offered a Congress party ticket from Bicholim constituency and 100 government jobs for my constituents, which has been assured by the chief minister and other Congress party leaders,” said Patnekar, a BJP legislator twice elected from Bicholim, 30 km from here.
Patnekar said that despite the large-scale recruitment by the Kamat-led coalition government, several of his constituents did not “get jobs” because they belonged to an opposition constituency.
Recruitment by the thousands ahead of the polls has become a political issue in Goa, with opposition leader Manohar Parrikar alleging that health minister Vishwajeet Rane and home minister Ravi Naik were creating superfluous government jobs and only their electoral constituents were being selected.
“Merit has gone for a toss. All these jobs are election related recruitments. We have already complained to the election commission and will approach the courts to block such corrupt practice ahead of elections,” Parrikar said.
Taking note of the alleged mass recruitment, the CEC during his August visit to Goa directed Chief Secretary Sanjiv Srivastava to probe the mass recruitment by the government and file an explanation to the commission within a few weeks.
Goa has nearly 50,000 government employees for a population of 13.5 lakh. The state has one of the highest government employee-population ratios in the country.