Goa BJP MLA resigns to join Congress

 Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Rajesh Patnekar resigned on Monday to join the Congress Party here.

Patnekar’s parting of ways with the saffron party after two terms in the state assembly is bad news for the BJP, ahead of the elections in Goa early next year.

The BJP is now down to 13 MLAs in a House of 40, and its moves to strike an alliance with the MGP for next year’s state polls have been rebuffed by the regional party, which is in government with the Congress here.

Patnekar, who has been promised a Congress ticket from the Bicholim constituency in the next year’s assembly elections, said he was looking forward to more development in his area.   One of a handful of BJP legislators, known to have been “in touch” with the Congress, Patnekar’s departure is no surprise to the BJP and its leader Manohar Parrikar, who said it  as much in his muted response: “His resignation was expected, we knew he was hobnobbing with the Congress.”

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who is being credited with this political move, told Deccan Herald he expected two more BJP legislators to cross over to the Congress. Son of Speaker Pratapsingh Rane, Vishwajit, has been eager to consolidate his position within the Congress for the power stakes after the election.

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