Former Goa Congress MLA joins BJP

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Former Goa Congress MLA joins BJP

Panaji, April 6 (IANS) Former Congress legislator Vishwajit Rane formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday in the presence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and state party President Vinay Tendulkar.

Addressing a press conference here, Vishwajit, son of senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane, said that he was in the BJP to stay and had joined the party to “strengthen the hands” of Parrikar.

“We will work to strengthen the BJP in Sattari (a sub-district in North Goa district),” Rane said.

When asked if he had taken permission from his father, Pratapsingh, before joining the BJP, Rane said: “I have taken his blessings.”

With the entry of Rane into the BJP, the legislative strength of the party now rises to 14 in the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly.

Rane, who is likely to be inducted into the Parrikar-led Cabinet soon, will be contesting from Valpoi assembly constituency which is heading for a by-poll.

Responding to a query if he had been assured a Cabinet berth by Parrikar, Rane said: “It is the Chief Minister’s prerogative.”

Rane, who was elected from Valpoi assembly constituency in the February 4 polls, resigned from the Congress soon after the results were announced on March 11, accusing his party leadership of letting go the opportunity to form a government despite emerging as the single largest party with 17 MLAs.

Speaking on the occasion, Parrikar said that the BJP was a party which could accommodate leaders from other parties.

“BJP is a party which can accommodate,” Parrikar said.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.