Previously an independent candidate, Kaunte had joined the BJP on December 17, ahead of Goa Assembly elections in the presence of Goa BJP elections in-charge Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane along with his hundreds of supporters. As an independent candidate, he had contested and won the Porvorim seat in the 2017 assembly elections with a 4,213 vote margin.
The two-time independent MLA then chose to join BJP last month, stating that BJP is the only party that can provide stable and pro-development governance.
Khaunte was earlier planning to join the Congress ahead of the upcoming legislative assembly polls but the move didn't materialise. He was also in the fray to join TMC and was among many regional leaders who had met TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee during her first visit to Goa.
Khaunte has previously served as minister of IT, revenue, labour and employment and planning and statistics in the cabinet of late Manohar Parrikar.