Goa BJP CM bats for felicitation of veteran Congress MLA



 In a rare display of political camaraderie across party lines, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday urged the Speaker of the state legislative assembly to felicitate former Chief Minister and sitting Congress MLA Pratapsingh Rane who's all set to complete 50 continuous years as a legislator.

Rane is scheduled to complete 50 years as an MLA in 2022, in the tenure of the current legislative assembly.

"There is a need to felicitate Pratapsingh Rane who will complete 50 years as an MLA in the tenure of the current legislative assembly in 2022," Sawant told the state assembly, urging Speaker Rajesh Patnekar to host the felicitation ceremony on the day the ex-Chief Minister completes 50 years in office.

"Rane is one of the rare legislators to have occupied the posts of MLA, Leader of Opposition, Chief Minister and Speaker. As far as I know, only former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu has had such a long, unbroken stint as an MLA," Sawant said.

Sawant's request to felicitate Rane came at a time when the BJP has almost decimated the opposition party by engineering a series of defections in its ranks. Since 2017, 13 Congress MLAs have broken away from their parent party to join the BJP.

Rane was first elected to the state assembly in 1972 as a Maharashtrwadi Gomantak Party MLA. He later defected to the Congress and served as the Chief Minister on several occasions. He remains undefeated from the Poriem assembly constituency since 1972. His son, Vishwajit, is currently the Health Minister in the BJP-led coalition government in the state.

Earlier this week, Rane had defied his party's stance by supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir and abrogate Article 370 and Article 35-A, which earned him public praise from Chief Minister Sawant. IANS