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Poached MLAs blame leaders in Congress for switch-over

Story: The | Goan | 20th October 2018, 03:05 Hrs

THEIR SIDES OF
JUSTIFICATION
DAYANAND SOPTE
>> On at least three occasions the Congress lost the opportunity to form the government because of the differences among its top leaders over who would lead it
SUBHASH SHIRODKAR
>> Besides the leadership crisis in the Congress, solution to the mining conundrum can only be reached by the BJP and its top leadership led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
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PANAJI: Both Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, who on Tuesday quit as MLAs to shift allegiance from the Congress to the BJP, said that the division among the top leaders of their former party was what prompted them to switch over.
Addressing the media at the BJP state headquarters in Panaji, Shirodkar and Sopte said there were differences in the Congress stances on issues including leadership in the event of government formation on several occasions in the past 18 months.
Sopte said, on at least three occasions the Congress lost the opportunity to form the government because of the differences among its top leaders over who would lead it.
"This is why I thought that there was no hope of achieving development and jobs for the people of my constituency by staying in the Congress and so decided to quit and join the BJP," Sopte said.
The former MLA of Mandrem, who defeated then sitting Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar by a huge margin in the 2017 assembly elections, however, claimed his joining the saffron outfit was a "home-coming".
He recalled that he began his political career in the BJP and was elected its MLA in Pernem in 2007, but lost out on the ticket to Parsekar when delimitation wiped out his constituency which was reserved. He then switched to the Congress and unsuccessfully contested against Parsekar in 2012 and defeated him in 2017.
Sopte claimed that he was approached with an offer to join the BJP on at least three occasions in the last eighteen months, including when Health Minister Vishwajit Rane quit the Congress to join the saffron outfit.
He said, he was grateful that despite being in the Opposition, the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had helped him to get at least 103 youth from his constituency employment and development works to the tune of Rs 32 crores were sanctioned and in various stages of implementation.
Shirodkar meanwhile said, besides the leadership crisis in the Congress, the fact that a solution to the mining conundrum, which could bring solace to over 60,000 families in Goa can only be reached by the BJP and its top leadership led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was the main reason he made up his mind to join the party.