In Goa, More Than Half Of Legislators Switched Sides Since 2017

Whenever independent member Rohan Khaunte quit and entered the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday, he has become the 21st lawmaker to change parties since 2017, a new high. Upwards of half of Goa's 40 lawmakers now belong to a separate political group from the one in which they were voted in the 2017 assembly elections.

The Bharatiya Janata party has benefited the most from these resignations, increasing its membership from 13, its lowest total in an assembly election since 1999 when it secured ten seats, to 27 whenever it convinced ten Congress members and two MGP legislators to change sides to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Three lawmakers, one from the Goa Forward, one from the independent party, and one from the Congress, have quit and moved to the Bharatiya Janata Party in recent months, hoping to be awarded tickets for the next elections.

Just one Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Legislative, Alina Saldanha of Cortalim, has defected to the Aam Aadmi Party.

Also Read: Omicron-Driven Third Wave Likely To Arrive Early Next Year, Peak In Feb: Covid Supermodel Panel

The Congress has been the greatest setback, with only three seats in the Goa Legislative Assembly. The only bright spot is the party's likely coalition with the Goa Forward Party, which has also managed to recruit independent MP Prasad Gaonkar. The Trinamool Congress (TMC), which has 2 MPs who were voted in 2017, has been introduced to the equation.

Radharao Gracias, a former Member of the Legislative Assembly and member of the now-defunct United Goans Democratic Party, remarked that this is a common occurrence in Goa. There are very fewer individuals, including me, who haven't yet switched political organizations and are entrenched in their current positions. This is occurring because the populace wants their Member of Legislative Assembly to be in authority, as well as every Member of Legislative Assembly rushes in the direction where he believes power will be found. This occurs primarily because everyone anticipates their Member of Legislative Assembly to be in authority, which is why everyone is switching sides.

Gracias, who is recognised for his cynicism about politics, alluded to Goa's turbulent past in the 1990s, when the state had seen thirteen chief ministers take office between 1990 and 2002 - the smallest of whom was Churchill Alemao, who was only in office for 18 days - and lawmakers commonly switched sides, pulling the rug from underneath each other's legs, and multiple political lineups formed and drained away.

Although it has been more than 15 years since Goa was already placed underneath president's control, in 2005, Congress leader, Digambar Kamat, who served as chief minister from 2007 to 2012, continues to remain the sole chief minister in the history of the state to serve a maximum of five-term.

Gracias recognises that the existing system has perplexed voters.

People are relocating from one place to another, according to Gracias. People are joining and leaving all of the major political parties. So they'll have to wait a while to find out at least what will occur since they don't know who would be with whom and when.

Advocate Cleofato Almeida Coutinho, a political analyst, took a more serious mood, warning that if the current trend continues, party politics will lose all value.