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Friday, January 28, 2022

Decision soon, says Goa Congress MLA Ravi Naik on buzz that he will join BJP

PANAJI: Congress MLA and former chief minister Ravi Naik, widely speculated to be planning to switch across to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said he has consulted his supporters and will announce his decision soon. Naik, who was Goa chief minister for a little over 27 months in the early 1990s, was responding to buzz that he will be the next one to cross sides.

Goa Forward Party, a regional party led by Vijai Sardesai, this week lost a MLA, Jayesh Salgaonkar, who quit from the assembly and the party before joining the BJP on Friday. As chief minister Pramod Sawant welcomed Jayesh Salgaonkar into the BJP, he announced that there was a long list of politicians from rival parties who were waiting to sign up with the BJP.

Naik has long been considered to be on the top of this list. Political leaders close to him said Ravi Naik could join the BJP as early as Sunday.

“There is nothing to announce at the moment. Over the next few days I will announce if there is any decision. I have heard all sides and have also consulted with my supporters,” Naik told reporters on Friday.

Naik’s exit, as and when he chooses to formalise it, will not surprise the Goa Congress which gave up on the politician who once led the state government after his sons ejected from the party.

Congress leaders said the veteran Congress politician has been considered persona non grata for all practical purposes by the party leadership after his two sons, Ritesh and Roy, joined the BJP in August last year.

Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar was upfront, and public about it. “The day his sons joined the BJP we disowned him and have also readied another candidate to take his place,” Chodankar said earlier.

The Naik camp also never made it an effort to counter the view that he will follow his sons’ footsteps.

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