Virus of defection worse than Covid: Goa Congress chief

Defection is a virus which is worse than Covid-19, Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar said on Saturday, as he urged the other political parties in Goa to join forces and shun entertaining the defectors in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly polls.

Speaking to reporters here, Chodankar hoped that the Bombay High Court would be sensitive towards the petition filed by the Congress against 10 party MLAs who jumped ship to the BJP in 2019, and give its verdict at the earliest.

“Defection is a virus which has badly affected Goans. It is worse than the Covid virus. There is no vaccine for this virus. There is no cure. The Congress has taken the first step towards cure. The second step should be taken by the people of Goa, who should take the responsibility of defeating every defector,” Chodankar said.

“All political parties should eliminate the defection virus from Goa. We may differ on a lot of issues, but we should not have differnces over defection. All the political parties should come together and send these defectors home,” Chodankar said.

Speaking about the delay in taking the petition which he had filed against the 10 Congress MLAs to a logical conclusion, Chodankar said that the delay on the part of the Speaker of the state Assembly, Rajesh Patnekar, to give his verdict on the issue had largely dragged the petition for two years.

“Our Speaker, who is a judge and decides on disqualification petitons, delayed it for 20 months without reason. After that we had to approach the Supreme Court. It took six to seven months (in the SC) after which the Speaker gave the order. It took two months for our petition to be listed in the high court again,” Chodankar said.

“We hope that the high court will decide on this issue soon, because the polls are scheduled early next year. There will be no impact if the decision is given after the elections. So I hope the high court will be sensitive to this matter,” Chodankar said.

In all, 13 Congress MLAs and two MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party have joined the ruling BJP since 2019. The Goa legislative Assembly consists of 40 MLAs.