On Thursday, former Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate, accused of raping a minor girl joined the Congress party and is all set to be the candidate for the assembly by-elections from the Panaji constituency scheduled on 19 May, reports The New Indian Express.
Reportedly, rape accused Atanasio Monserrate is likely to be fielded from Panaji against prospective Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee Utpal Parrikar, son of late CM Manohar Parrikar.
Monserrate has a habit of changing political parties. He started his political career as a member of the United Goan Democratic Party (UGDP), then switched to the BJP in 2004 and then reverted back to the UGDP in 2007.
Further, he became a member of the Congress but was later thrown out from the party in 2015 for anti-party activities. Since then, he had been with the Goa Forward (GF).
Monserrate is believed to be a prominent leader in the state capital, despite being charge-sheeted in 2018 for allegedly raping a minor girl, and for human trafficking. Authorities have previously also booked him in a case of extortion.
“You can say it’s the return of the prodigal son. The son has learned a lesson roaming everywhere. It’s like a homecoming. I am here to defeat the BJP,” Monserrate said to media persons after joining the Congress.
It is being speculated that with Monserrate’s political hold and his influence, Congress can now hope to win the Panaji assembly seat and also gain an advantage in the two Lok Sabha seats of the state.