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L To R: Altone D’costa, Carlos Alvares Ferreira, Yuri Alemao   

Pressure From Local Churches Helps Cong Retain 3 MLAs In Goa

If the Congress has three MLAs left in its fold in Goa, it is not because of any commitment towards the party. Apparently, pressure from priests of the local church had prevented Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemo, Quepem MLA Altone D’Costa and Aldona MLA Carlose Alvares Ferreira from making the switch to the ruling BJP. Sources say that eight party legislators had crossed over to the ruling BJP largely due to the pressure from their constituencies. With the BJP returning to power for a third term in a row, a number of them felt compelled to meet demands of their voters. In July, when party managers like AICC in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao got first whiff of plans of Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo to engineer a split in the CLP, Lobo was removed as CLP leader/Leader of the Opposition. Subsequently, Rao got busy with Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Karnataka. Goa PCC chief Amit Patkar was found to be a rookie. The Congress termed defection of eight out of its 11 MLAs in Goa as the “height of betrayal and shamelessness.” Prior to the February elections Congress candidates had taken an oath not to defect. So “how can someone defy God?” asks Alemao.  BJP Goa chief Sadanand Tanavade summed up extra support as “unconditional”. It also means securing both North and South Lok Sabha seats for 2024.