Refutes reports of suppressing Kavlekar’s voice
In view of the merger of 10 Congress MLAs into the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress MLA and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, in an interview with ROQUE DIAS, said that it is now up to the central Congress leaders to take a call on the way forward for the party in Goa. He further said that there is a need to amend the Anti-Defection Law to stop such defections. He further said that if any legislator has decided to leave his or her political party, no one can stop, but it’s every MLAs responsibility not to break away in middle of the five-year term.
Q: Ten out of fifteen Congress legislators have joined BJP. Now only five are left with the Congress. Who do you think would play the role of Leader of Opposition.
I do not know. The party has to decide.
Q: What went wrong in the Congress in Goa that such a drastic political move ensued?
The central leaders have to find it. It is for them to take a call. I cannot say anything. I had met Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D’Sa on the same day, during the visit to the new under-construction hospital. With even the leader of opposition joining the rival party, what can I say? The MLAs have to decide on their political future. And, these legislators must have thought on it and taken a decision accordingly.
Q: There were rumours few months back that you were joining the BJP along with some other legislators.
Such rumours are spread whenever I go to Delhi. One thing I can always say is that if one has decided to leave (his or her party) no one can stop. But, ultimately we are answerable to the people, who elect us for five years. It is my responsibility though to see to it that I don’t break away midway.
Q: Do you feel there is need to make changes to the anti-defection law?
I had made such suggestions considering that such political switchovers were happening across the country. The Parliament should take note. Earlier, switchover of one-third members was allowed. But taking cognizance of switchovers, the Parliament had amended the law to allow defections of two-third or more members. But, now legislators are either resigning and re-contesting on a ticket of the new party they have entered or are merging two third of the party members into a new party.
Q: The then leader of opposition of your party and Quepem MLA Chandrakant Kavlekar has alleged that you were suppressing him which perhaps is why he has taken a decision to move out… your comment please.
I am not the high command of the Congress party and therefore there is no question of me suppressing anybody. I function in the most democratic way. If any legislator had sought for my advice, I always offered it. Where is the question of suppressing anyone? I am just like any other MLA. In politics no one can be suppressed. Recently, the party made me campaign in-charge leader for the Lok Sabha election for South Goa, and I worked in the direction.