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Tainted Congressman’s entry causes rift in Goa BJP

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Panaji:  The Goa BJP’s decision to welcome a tainted Congress legislator into its fold has brought to the surface a rift between the party’s tallest state leaders, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik.

Less than a week after Pandurang Madkaikar resigned from the Congress and the assembly to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Naik said on Monday that he was not consulted and the decision was “wrong”.

“They informed me about this only after taking the decision. I had told them that it was a wrong decision,” Naik told reporters.

Madkaikar joined the BJP last week in the presence of Parrikar, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and state party President Vinay Tendulkar.

Parrikar claimed on Saturday that Naik was consulted before Madkaikar’s induction.

Madkaikar is the second Congress state legislator to join the BJP over the past 10 days.

During a debate in the Goa assembly, Parrikar, as the Goa Chief Minister then, had accused the former Cumbharjua legislator of indulging in a land scam.

After Madkaikar’s inclusion into the BJP on December 22, Parrikar claimed an inquiry has been ordered into the scam and action would be taken if the legislator was found guilty.

Madkaikar’s entry into the BJP has also riled a section of the BJP leadership in Goa, which is one of the five states headed for polls early next year.

Naik claimed that he did not want to speak publicly of his discontent, but said he was forced to go on record after Parrikar told the media on Saturday that he had been consulted before the controversial induction.

“I did not go to the press because of party discipline… Consultation means asking for an opinion before a decision is made. This decision was already made by him (Parrikar) before I was told about it,” Naik said.

The BJP, which got an unprecedented simple majority in the 2012 state assembly elections, now faces an uphill task in the next polls since its alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party is on the brink of breaking up and a new political party founded by rebel Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Subhash Velingkar is taking the battle to the ruling party.

IANS

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