A day after resigning from the Goa Foward Party, former state minister Atanasio Monserratte joined the Congress on Thursday, nearly four years after he was expelled from it for alleged anti-party activities.
Soon after joining the Congress in the presence of Goa party chief Girish Chodankar and others, Monserratte told reporters that he would contest the upcoming Panaji Assembly seat bypoll on the opposition party's ticket.
The by-election, necessitated following the death of sitting MLA and then chief minister Manohar Parrikar last month, is scheduled on May 19.
"I have joined the Congress for the development of the Panaji constituency. Parrikar, during his tenure, could not do much for the constituency on development and employment fronts," Monserratte claimed.
In the 2017 state Assembly elections, Monserratte lost to BJP's Siddharat Kuncolienkar by 1,069 votes from Panaji seat, which was Parrikar's bastion since 1992 when he got elected as an MLA for the first time.
Monserratte was a minister in the previous state governments led by Manohar Parrikar, Pratapsinh Rane and Digambar Kamat and joined the Goa Forward Party (GFP) in 2017.
The GFP, headed by Vijai Sardesai, is an ally of the current BJP-led state government.
While resigning from the GFP on Wednesday, Monserratte also quit the post of chairman of the Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority.
Monserratte got elected to the state Assembly for the first time in 2002, when he contested on United Goans Democratic Party's ticket from Taleigao constituency.
He later became the town and country planning minister in the then Parrikar-led cabinet.
In 2005, Monserratte along with two other ministers resigned, bringing down the Parrikar-led government, after which the Pratapsinh Rane-led coalition came to power.
He fought the 2005 Taleigao by-election on Congress' ticket, won it and became a minister in the Rane-led cabinet.
In the 2007 Goa Assembly elections, he again won as a Congress candidate from Taleigao but in the 2012 polls, he vacated the seat for his wife, who contested as that party's nominee and won.
In the 2012 election, Monserratte won from St Cruz Assembly constituency as Congress' nominee.
He was expelled from the Congress on March 11, 2015 for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities.
He contested the 2017 Assembly poll from Panaji seat on United Goans Party ticket, but lost. Later that year, he joined the GFP.