Jose Philip begins resignation drama

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 03 March 2002 13:48 IST

As an obvious fallout of the sudden dissolution of Goa Assembly last week, revenue minister Jose Philip D’Souza is now the first minister to quit Manohar Parrikar government as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He was among the two Christian ministers in the BJP cabinet, which was formed by engineering defections in the Congress in November 2000. While quitting, D’Souza has now alleged harassment to minorities during the BJP regime.


Though Parrikar had claimed that recommending dissolution was an unanimous decision of the cabinet, D’Souza disclosed that he had objected to it while requesting Parrikar to resolve internal bickering within the ruling party amicably and not by resorting to such a drastic action.


The 32-month old eighth Assembly was dissolved by governor Mohammed Fazal after the Parrikar-led BJP government ruled for 16 months, with the help of the Congress rebels. Among 21 BJP legislators in the 40-member House, the saffron party has only 10 ‘originals’.


The Congress had alleged that Parrikar recommended dissolution, fearing eight members leaving the ruling party. BJP state secretary Govind Parvatkar had also admitted that a group within the BJP was planning to split and join hands with the Congress to form an alternate government.


D’Souza has however flayed the rumours that he was among the eight to topple the BJP government. Though there were rumours that Parrikar will also drop four ministers after dissolving the House, the chief minister had quipped: "Why should I ? Let them resign and go".


Perhaps it has begun with D’Souza’s resignation. Even if nobody is prepared to name the probable defectors or whether they will be given tickets to contest polls, BJP secretary Parvatkar had indirectly admitted that quite a few may be denied party candidature.


D’Souza, while quitting, has announced that he will definitely be in a fray but does not know whether he will join the Congress. Luizinho Faleiro, the Congress leader, has welcomed D’Souza’s statement, adding that more such confessions are likely to follow, indicating more resignations from the BJP.


D’Souza has however flayed all these speculations, claiming that harassment to minorities by the Sangh Parivar, in collusion with the ruling BJP, in Goa and the country was the sole reason for his quitting the saffron brigade.


While joining the saffron camp along with another Christian and Muslim legislators two years ago, D’Souza had said they had positively responded to the then BJP president Bangaru Laxman’s appeal to the minorities to join the BJP.


This is the fourth time D’Souza has quit the party, after getting elected as the United Goans Democratic Party MLA in June 1999. He had then defected to join the then ruling Congress within a month but quit the Congress in August, to ultimately join the BJP in October 2000.


He is presently in search of a party, to contest polls from Vasco, the port town and his home constituency.

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