Former Goa Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Elvis Gomes joined the Congress party on Sunday, even as state Congress president Girish Chodankar said that the opposition party would now use Gomes, a former bureaucrat, to expose the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led party’s pro-RSS agenda.
At a formal induction ceremony at the Congress state headquarters in Panaji, Gomes said that he had joined the opposition outfit to further the agenda of ‘Goa First’.
“He (Elvis) knows how the AAP thinktank and its strategies work 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,” the state Congress president said while welcoming Gomes into the party.
“He is secular at his core. We will use Elvis’ experience everywhere in Goa to create awareness in the people, who are trapped by the topis (AAP’s trademark caps), about this AAP agenda,” Chodankar further said.
Apart from being the AAP convener in Goa, Gomes was also the chief ministerial candidate of the Kejriwal-led party in the 2017 state assembly polls, where it performed poorly, with Gomes himself losing his election deposit in the contest.
Gomes quit AAP in December 2020. He had served as a state cadre bureaucrat in Goa for nearly two decades and resigned from service soon after he was promoted into the Indian Administrative Service.
The former AAP leader, who had been critical of the Congress in his former role, especially the steady stream of defection of its MLAs, said that he had been assured by the state Congress leadership that the MLAs who had defected would not be taken back into the party.
“I stand by every word I had 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 told reporters after his induction.
“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 claimed.
He also said that he could not be branded as a “party hopper” because he had taken eight to nine months to join a new party after quitting AAP.
“I was in touch with the Congress leaders. Although I have switched parties… I quit one party eight to nine months back. I did not just jump. I took time to make the switch,” Gomes said.
“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 said.