‘God told me…’: Digambar Kamat explains why he reneged on his Congress pledge

PANAJI:Congress veteran Digambar Kamat, who administered a pledge to the party’s 39 other candidates not to defect from the party ahead of assembly elections, defended his decision to renege on his oath and join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Kamat, a seven-time legislator, said he went “back to God” for guidance.

“The oath I had taken. I am a man who has faith in God. I went back to God, I told God, these are the circumstances and asked what I should do. God said you take whatever decision you want, I am behind you,” Kamat told reporters after he and seven other legislators “merged” their group into the BJP.

Goa has a history of defections and a record of having 13 chief ministers in 12 years between 1989 and 2000. Ten Congress lawmakers defected to the BJP during the previous term of the state assembly. As many as 27 lawmakers quit the parties on whose tickets they were elected on.

Michael Lobo, who was also among those who joined the BJP on Wednesday, was also asked about his pledge that he will not defect from the Congress. The oaths were repeated in presence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and also in a temple, church, and mosque. Lobo declined comment.

Kamat and Lobo led the group of Congress legislators who switched sides on Wednesday. An earlier attempt by Congress MLAs in July this year fell flat after five members refused to join the breakaway group and exit the Congress while two others were dithering.

People aware of the matter said Kamat and Lobo’s efforts to win over more lawmakers continued after July. Lobo last month visited Delhi, ostensibly to take part in the Congress protest against price rise and inflation even though he was not seen at the protest.

Digambar Kamat too denied reports about travelling to Delhi. But local media published a list that showed Kamat had booked a ticket to Delhi. It was not known whether Kamat actually flew to Delhi.

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