Kamat to move bill in Goa assembly to end defection

Stung by 13 of its MLAs leaving the party fold to join the BJP since 2017, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat on Tuesday said that he will move a private members resolution demanding significant changes to the current anti-defection law to put a permanent end to defections.

Kamat, a former Chief Minister, also said that the scourge of defection could only be ended by taking “revolutionary steps”.

“There needs to be accountability and responsibility of every elected representative towards the people. Time has come to take revolutionary steps to put an end to the defections. I am taking the first step to bring in the change by moving a resolution in the Goa legislative assembly demanding significant changes in the anti-defection law to permanently put an end to defections from one party to the other,” Kamat said. The monsoon session of the state legislative assembly has been convened from July 28.

Kamat said that the Congress would launch a state-wide campaign to create awareness among the people about the ill-effects of defections on democratic functioning, adding that the campaign would also “enlighten” the people of their democratic rights and impress upon them to hold their elected representatives accountable and responsible towards the mandate given to them by the electorate.

“Each elected representative must respect the mandate of the people and ensure that no betrayal is done either with the people or the political party during the term for which they are elected. It is our duty to abide by the people’s mandate. We have no authority to take decisions individually. At the most, the elected representative can resign and seek people’s mandate again,” Kamat said.

In all 15 MLAs from the 40 member Goa legislative assembly have switched from the Congress (13 MLAs) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (two MLAs) to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party since the 2017 state assembly results. Only three out of the 15 MLAs resigned from the parent party (on which they were elected) and re-contested polls after joining BJP.