Congress breaking amid Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', 3/4th party MLAs in Goa to join BJP

The Congress will be left with mere three MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly. The party currently has 11 legislators, while the BJP has 20, one short of the majority

FP Staff September 14, 2022 12:02:12 IST
Congress breaking amid Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', 3/4th party MLAs in Goa to join BJP

Goa Congress MLAs meet CM Pramod Sawant. ANI

New Delhi: Eight of 11 Congress MLAs in Goa will be joining the ruling BJP on Wednesday (14 September), Sadanand Shet Tanavade said.

The Congress will be left with mere three MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly. The party currently has 11 legislators, while the BJP has 20, one short of the majority.

BJP enjoys support of three independents and two lawmakers of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party.

Who are eight Goa Congress MLAs joining BJP today?

The eight Goa Congress MLAs who will be joining BJP are – Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes.

Lobo after holding a meeting with Congress Legislature Party told ANI that they “will join BJP”.

He said, “We have joined BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Pramod Sawant… ‘Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo’.”

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the Goa Assembly today witnessed heightened activity after the reports started doing the rounds that atleast eight Congress MLAs, led by Michael Lobo and former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, will be joining the BJP.

A report by NDTV said that the Goa Congress lawmakers have met the Vidhan Sabha Speaker and CM Pramod Sawant.

The reports of eight Goa Congress MLAs joining BJP also comes at a time when party leader Rahul Gandhi is holding ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

For the unversed, in July this year, there were reports that at least five Congress MLAs including Michael Lobo, Digambar Kamat, Kedar Naik, Rajesh Faldesai and Delialah Lobo had gone incommunicado. Congress’ Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao had alleged alleged that some of his party leaders hatched a conspiracy with the BJP to see that the party in Goa is weakened and to engineer defections.

Rao had even said that Kamat and Lobo had been working in total coordination with BJP. “One person – Digambar Kamat – did it to safeguard his own skin because so many cases are against him and the other person – Michael Lobo – for the sake of power and position. BJP wants to finish Opposition,” alleged Rao.

Lobo was also removed from the post of the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly.

Also ahead of the Goa Assembly session in July, the Congress had moved these five MLAs to an undisclosed location.

Congress MLAs switching over to BJP not new

On 10 July, 2019, Congress MLAs formed a separate faction and switched over to the BJP. The party suffered a major jolt when 10 of its 15 legislators — two-thirds — defected to the BJP in Goa.

Then Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Chandrakant Kavlekar, had led the breakaway group and merged with the ruling BJP. The MLAs who joined the BJP along with Kavlekar included Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred D’Sa, Nilkant Halarnkar, Isidor Fernandes and Antonio Fernandes.

Back then, Kavlekar had said that he and the other MLAs decided to join the BJP as development works in their constituencies were suffering as they were in opposition.

With inputs from agencies

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