PANJIM: In a major setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Mapusa, its long time loyalist Sudhir Kandolkar joined the Congress party on Sunday along with his supporters.
Meanwhile, in another setback for the ruling coalition, Kandolkar’s colleague in the Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC) Vinod (Balu) Phadke, who is a member of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), has extended support to him and the Congress in the ensuing by-polls of Mapusa constituency.
Kandolkar, a BJP loyalist had been vying to contest the by-polls on the BJP ticket, but the saffron party on Saturday announced Joshua D’Souza, son of former deputy chief minister late Francis D’Souza as its candidate from Mapusa. He had been a close aide of former MLA and stood by him during all the previous terms.
Though he has not specified any reason for resigning in the letter submitted to the BJP State president Vinay Tendulkar, the writing is on the wall that the decision has been taken as he was denied the ticket to contest the by-polls.
Welcoming Kandolkar into the party fold, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar said “Sudhir Kandolkar has contributed immensely to the politics of Mapusa and to the victories of late Francis D’Souza. He had stood by him in his thick and thin and we are happy to welcome him to the Congress.”
Former chief minister and Margao MLA Digambar Kamat praising the work of Kandolkar as councillor for several terms said “For several elections, be it municipality or assembly, he has contributed to the victories that his former party received in Mapusa. He has worked hard for the development of Mapusa town. I have had the opportunity to see him work when I held the Urban Development portfolio.”
Leader of Opposition, Chandrakant Babu Kavalekar welcoming Kandolkar and his supporters into the Congress said “We know that Sudhir is a dedicated and loyal person and that is clear from his support to Francis D’Souza for several terms. We had invited him earlier too to join the party but due to his loyalty and word he did not join. Now when Francis is not amidst us, Sudhir has decided to join us and we welcome him whole heartedly.”
Meanwhile, Vinod alias Balu Phadke who too had intended to contest the by-polls, said “The BJP has fooled Sudhir for so many years, we are all aware. At the time of every election they would tell him, you will be the representative in the next term and this went on for 25 years. And even now, he has been meted out the same fate. I will support Sudhir and work against the BJP.”