Citizens’ group against defection in Goa to intensify protest

A citizens’ group protesting against ‘defection’ by political leaders in Goa has decided to intensify its protest if Congress MLAs don’t commit that they will not switch sides.

The protest, which started 10 days ago from the Margao constituency represented by former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, against whom the Congress has filed a disqualification plea for alleged anti-party activities, on Sunday reached the Cumbharjua constituency represented by Congress MLA Rajesh Phaldesai, trying to draw the attention of politicians.

Savio Coutinho, the former chairperson of Margao Municipal Council who lad the group of protesters, told IANS that they will protest in all the 11 Assembly constituencies represented by the Congress and then move to the other constituencies so that people become aware of the defection politics taking place in the state.

“These MLAs should come forward and declare that they are committed to the pledge made before god and that they will not switch sides. If they don’t, we will intesify our protest,” Coutinho said.

He also said that people from all walks of life are joining the protest to save democracy.

“Defection has become a style now. After getting elected, the MLAs join other parties without respecting the voters. This has become a tradition in Goa. They switch sides for their personal benefits. Such things should not happen,” Coutinho said.

“These MLAs should tell the people that they will stick to their commitment and will not change sides during their five-year term, for which people have elected them,” he added.

Earlier, the Congress had filed a petition with Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar seeking disqualification of party MLAs Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo for alleged anti-party activities.

The Congress has also removed Lobo as the Leader of Opposition, alleging that he was one who hatched a conspiracy with Kamat to split Congress MLAs.

“It is a well-established fact that the Congress MLAs had plans to jump ship to the BJP. Now we hear many MLAs saying that they are all united,” Coutinho said.

“If the Congress MLAs declare that they are committed to their pledge, we will stop our protest and publicly express our regret for misjudging them,” Coutinho said.

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