'Congress chhodo, BJP jodo': Cong's strength shrinks to three in Goa Assemblytext_fields
Panaji: In Goa legislative Assembly, the Congress strength has reduced to three after eight of its MLAs defected to the BJP bastion, barely two months after such a defection bid was reported to be simmering in the party.
Confirming the development to IANS, party MLA and Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislative Party, Sankalp Amonkar said: "Yes we are merging with the BJP, a resolution in this regard has been taken."
Leader of Opposition Micheal Lobo said that eight Congress MLAs have joined the BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
He also quipped "Congress chhodo, BJP jodo" (Leave the Congress, join the BJP), taking a jibe at the Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India March) led by Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress MLAs who switched to the BJP included Amonkar, former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Kedar Naik, Rajesh Faldesai, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes
Speaking to reporters following the merging of Congress MLAs with the BJP, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said "the MLAs, including Digambar Kamat, Micheal Lobo and those who have come with them, have come keeping in mind the vision of PM Narendra Modi to create a new India and for the development of Goa. They have joined the government and supported us. I welcome them. This will prove to be a historic decision in the development of Goa."
On July 10, the Congress had removed Lobo as the Leader of Opposition alleging he was one who hatched a conspiracy, along with Kamat, by hobnobbing with the BJP to split Congress MLAs.
It was their first attempt to join the BJP, however, it was foiled after the early intervention of senior party leaders.
During Ganesh Chaturthi, these MLAs had again tried to join BJP, but they couldn't manage numbers.
On July 10, 2019, during the last term of the BJP government, 10 MLAs of Congress along with Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavalekar had switched to the BJP.
However, Kavalekar and the other six politicians lost the Assembly election held in February this year.