Former Goa Congress MLA Vishwajit Rane, who had defied the party whip to vote against the trust motion of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar last month, on Thursday formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Rane, who was elected from Valpoi constituency, had resigned from the Congress and also quit as MLA after absenting himself from the House when Parrikar sought the crucial trust vote, in protest against the Congress' "failure" to form government despite winning maximum 17 seats in the 40-member House.
Parrikar had eventually won the trust vote with the support of three members each of the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party, the Goa Forward Party and three Independents, besides 12 MLAs of the BJP, against 16 MLAs from the Congress, as Rane had remained absent during the voting.
Rane, 46, son of veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Pratapsinh Rane, joined the saffron party in the presence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Goa unit BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, at a function held at the BJP headquarters in Panaji.
Hundreds of his supporters travelled from Valpoi to witness the cross over.
Welcoming him in the saffron fold, Parrikar said, "The constant infightings and restlessness in the Congress party resulted in Rane quitting it. There are several other Congressmen who are willing to join the BJP due to infighting."
The CM, however, remained non-committal on future assignment for Rane, especially his induction as a minister.
Notably, the BJP's Goa Legislature Party had recently resolved to induct him in the Cabinet.
"I will be working to strengthen the party. I have not come here (in BJP) on a transit. I am going to stay here and work for the party," Rane junior said, adding that he "had taken the blessings of his father."
Meanwhile, the block Congress committee members from Valpoi in North Goa have resigned in support of Rane, while accusing the Congress of betrayal by failing to form the government.
All Valpoi block Congress committee members, led by Laxmi Halwalkar, tendered their resignation from the primary membership of the party on Wednesday night.
We, the Valpoi block Congress committee members are hereby submitting our resignation from the primary membership of the Congress with immediate effect as we have no faith in the leadership at the state and national level," reads the resignation letter, signed by all block members.
IMAGE: Former Congress minister Vishwajit Rane joins BJP in presence of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar at Panaji in Goa. Photogrpah: PTI Photo