Ex-AAP Goa convenor joins Congress ahead of 2022 polls

Ex-AAP Goa convenor joins Congress ahead of 2022 Assembly polls

Former AAP Goa convenor Elvis Gomes (C) joins Congress. Credit: Facebook/INCGoa

The Congress in Goa got a shot in the arm on Sunday, after former Aam Aadmi Party convener for Goa Elvis Gomes joined the Congress at a formal ceremony in Panaji.

Gomes, a former Indian Administrative Service officer and AAP's chief ministerial candidate for the 2017 polls, said that he believed in the secular credentials and the ideology of the Congress party, which compelled him to take the step after resigning from AAP in December 2019.

"I have taken a step. The Congress is one of the oldest political parties in the world. It has a rich history and ideology, the main thing is the ideology. (It believes in) the Constitution of India and secularism. People have come and gone, but the ideology is intact," Gomes told reporters after formally joining the Congress party.

The former AAP leader who had been vocal about the trend of defection of MLAs in the Congress party also said that he had been assured by Goa Congress leaders, that henceforth, defectors would not be allowed into the party fold.

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"I asked (Chodankar) a hundred times as to whether defectors will be taken back. Till today, the stand is that they will not be taken back. This will be a good cleansing process and those who want a good future for Goa and their children will come to the Congress fold," Gomes said.

"I stand by every word I have said that time. Was there no defection? There have been defections earlier too. The last defection of 10 persons, a sword was put through the backs of Goans. I had expressed the emotions of Goans," Gomes added. In all 13 Congress MLAs have switched to the BJP since the 2017 poll results were announced. 

State Congress president Girish Chodankar said that Gomes' experience in the AAP, especially his 'knowledge' about the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's machinations to destroy the Congress on behalf of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh would be exploited by the Congress in Goa ahead of the 2022 polls.

"He (Elvis) knows how the AAP think tank (works) and its strategies to finish the Congress. We have always been saying that the AAP is a wing of the RSS which has an agenda to finish the Congress by splitting the Congress vote to create a Congress-mukt Bharat. Elvis has experienced it," Chodankar said, while welcoming Gomes into the party.