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Politics

Eight Goa Congress MLAs, Including Former CM, Join BJP

A similar incident had taken place in 2019 when 10 Congress MLAs had switched over to the BJP.

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New Delhi: Eight Goa Congress MLAs joined the ruling BJP on Tuesday and passed a resolution to merge the Congress Legislature Party with the saffron party.

Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo moved the resolution in the presence of seven other MLAs. The resolution was seconded by the former chief minister and MLA Digambar Kamat, sources said.

Earlier, BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade had said eight Congress MLAs will join the ruling party.

In the 40-member Goa assembly, the Congress had 11 legislators. After the defection, the Congress has been reduced to just three, while the BJP’s ranks swell to 33. The BJP won only 20 seats, but two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLAs have also defected while three independent MLAs have also extended support to the government.

Among the MLAs who shifted their allegiances are Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, his wife Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes.

In July this year, the Goa Congress was able to avert a split after the BJP claimed that six MLAs were set to join it.

The Congress has faced difficulties in keeping its flock together in Goa. In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs switched over to the BJP.

After the MLAs joined the BJP, chief minister Sawant took a dig at the Congress, saying while the party was undertaking a ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ (Unite India March), its MLAs were on a mission to ‘Congress chodo‘ (leave Congress).

The MLAs have joined the BJP “keeping in mind the vision of PM Narendra Modi to create a new India and for the development of Goa”, he said, according to the Indian Express.

Kamat, said: “This decision was based on circumstances. I had said in the beginning when I was not made the Leader of Opposition. What is happening in the Congress is not right. If you read the letter, it is about Congress Jodo and not Bharat Jodo. The work done under PM Modi has got earned international respect for citizens of India. My workers in Margao said the (Congress) party is doing nothing. That is why we decided to take part in the development of Goa.”

(With PTI inputs)