Goa Congress MLAs switching over to BJP is 'setback' for saffron party, says Congress leader Salman Khurshid

Kolkata: Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday said switching over of two Goa Congress MLAs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a "setback" for the saffron party as the latter speaks of "principle politics", but practises something opposite to it.

 Goa Congress MLAs switching over to BJP is setback for saffron party, says Congress leader Salman Khurshid

File image of Union minister Salman Khurshid. AFP

"You can call it a setback (for us) but I believe it is a setback for the BJP as they speak of principled politics. They complain that everything was wrong before they came to power and now, every day, we see them function in a manner that is extremely questionable.

"MLAs that go today can come back tomorrow, who were there (on opposition benches) can come here (ruling side)...is that the kind of politics that we want?" he asked.

"It is sad that those we cherished and worked with leave Congress and go to the BJP at this time when everybody is thinking of leaving BJP and coming to Congress. Let us see how things turn out," Khurshid told reporters after visiting the College Square Puja Marquee.

Two Congress MLAs from Goa, including a former state party chief, joined the BJP on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the Opposition party in a state where the saffron party-led alliance government enjoys a thin majority.

Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, both of whom have resigned from the assembly, met BJP president Amit Shah at his residence Tuesday in the national capital. The MLA duo was later inducted into the saffron party at a press conference addressed by Union minister Piyush Goyal.

Talking on the Sabarimala issue, Khurshid said there are different points of view in society, and that the Supreme Court has tried its best to find a correct answer for this issue. "We have to accept what the Supreme Court finally decides and if we have any problem, then we can go back to the Supreme Court and explain.

"I think just as much as it is important to respect religion, it is important to respect institutions of our constitution, and for all sensible and responsible citizens, it is important to maintain a balance," he said.

The process of dialogue must not come to an end in our society. Whoever has any concern must express it and we should always be ready with an open heart and an open mind to listen to our people, the Congress leader said.

Women journalists were heckled, their vehicles smashed and young female Ayyappa devotees turned back as hordes of Hindu right activists besieged the road leading to the Sabarimala temple, whose gates were opened for women of menstrual age Wednesday evening for the first time after the Supreme Court's verdict.

Both the Congress, the main opposition party in Kerala, and the BJP, which is desperately seeking to expand its footprint in the state, have lent support to the agitation against the Supreme Court verdict.

The Supreme Court had last month lifted the centuries-old ban on women in the 10-50 age group to enter the shrine.

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Updated Date: Oct 18, 2018 07:53:40 IST