Goa Assembly election: BJP Minister and four-time MLA Filipe Nery Rodrigues quits

A shop selling party flags used for representational purpose only.

A shop selling party flags used for representational purpose only.

Ahead of the Goa Assembly election , Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Filipe Nery Rodrigues, who is the coastal State’s Water Resources Development Minister, resigned on Thursday.

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He becomes the sixth sitting BJP MLA and the third Cabinet Minister in the Pramod Sawant-led government to quit ahead of the election.

An incumbent fourth-term legislator from the Velim Assembly constituency in South Goa, Mr. Rodrigues, had been dropped by the BJP in favour of journalist Savio Rodrigues, who is the founder of an online media portal ‘Goa Chronicle.’

A disgruntled Mr. Nery, whose resignation was a foregone conclusion, had been contemplating the move for some time now. He is expected to join the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is contesting the Goa election in alliance with the Shiv Sena.

He was one of the 10 Congress MLAs who had defected to the BJP in July 2019 and had held the Velim seat for the Congress since 1999.

Mr. Nery, who was due to resign last week itself after being denied the Velim ticket in the first list of 34 candidates announced by the BJP, had deferred his decision at the last minute.

At the time of the BJP’s first list, Mr. Nery’s colleague in the Cabinet — Goa Public Works Department Minister Deepak Pauskar — had exited the party after being dropped for the Sanvordem constituency. The BJP had fielded ex-MLA Ganesh Gaonkar in lieu of Mr. Pauskar.

Last week, another BJP MLA Wilfred D’ sa — the sitting legislator of Nuvem constituency — had bid adieu to the party.

Earlier this month, the BJP’s Calangute MLA and Ports and Waste Management Minister Michael Lobo — one of the saffron party’s most prominent Catholic faces — had exited the party to join the Congress.

In December, two BJP MLAs — Alina Saldanha and Carlos Almeida — allegedly disenchanted with the current party leadership under Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, had resigned to join the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress respectively.

Other notable disaffected leaders following the announcement of the BJP’s candidate lists were former Chief Minister and long-time party member Laxmikant Parsekar — who was Chief Minister between 2014 and 2017 (the period when the late Manohar Parrikar had to take over as the country’s Defence Minister) and Utpal Parrikar — son of late Goa Chief Minister and BJP stalwart Manohar Parrikar.

Both Mr. Parsekar and Mr. Utpal Parrikar will be contesting as Independents from the Mandrem and Panaji Assembly constituencies respectively.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 2:28:03 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/goa-assembly/goa-assembly-election-bjp-minister-and-four-time-mla-filipe-nery-rodrigues-quits/article38332766.ece