'Not a setback': Congress says it will continue efforts to form govt in Goa after two leaders quit Assembly

Panaji: The Opposition Congress on Tuesday said it will continue its efforts to form an alternate government in Goa despite two of its legislators resigning.

Two Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte resigned on Tuesday from the Assembly and also from the primary membership of the party. They are set to join the BJP, which is heading a coalition government in the state.

 Not a setback: Congress says it will continue efforts to form govt in Goa after two leaders quit Assembly

Representational image. AFP

The resignations reduced the Congress's strength from 16 to 14 in the 40-member House. However, the Congress put up a brave face, saying the twin resignations were not a setback for the main Opposition party.

"It is not a setback for the Congress. We may have been reduced by two numbers, but our efforts to form the state government will continue," Goa Congress spokesperson Nilkant Halarnkar told PTI.

Halarnkar, who is also a legislator, said his party MLAs remain united and there is no possibility of any of them switching sides. "They (the BJP) have taken two of our MLAs and we will get four from their camp," he said, refusing to disclose which MLAs are ready to shift allegiance to the Congress.

Last month, the Congress had submitted a memorandum to Governor Mridula Sinha, staking claim to form an alternate government. The Congress had then claimed it has the support of legislators from other parties and can form the government, if given a chance.

However, the BJP and allies have been maintaining that the Manohar Parrikar government is stable and will complete its full five-year term.

After the resignations, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) held a meeting in Panaji during which the current political situation in the coastal state was discussed. Coming out of the meeting, former chief minister and Congress legislator Pratapsinh Rane said his party will fight back.

"They have left the party but they will have to face by-elections. We will fight it out during the election," he told reporters.

The Congress had emerged as the single largest party after the 2017 Assembly elections, winning 17 seats. However, within days its number was reduced to 16 when its newly-elected Vishwajit Rane resigned.

The BJP has 14 MLAs followed by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Independents (three each). The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has one MLA in the Assembly, whose effective strength has now been reduced to 38.

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Updated Date: Oct 16, 2018 18:01:15 IST