Goa: 10 MLAs who left Congress officially join BJP in presence of Nadda, Sawant
New Delhi, July 11: 10 of the 15 Goa Congress legislators who left the grand old party officially joined the BJP on Thursday. BJP working president JP Nadda and Goa CM Pramod Sawant welcomed the MLAs to the party in a formal function held in the national capital.
Sawant had earlier made it clear that the BJP had no hand to MLAs switching sides. He said the MLAs had come on their own.
Pramod Sawant met BJP president Amit Shah earlier today, and both leaders are believed to have held deliberations over a reshuffle in the state Cabinet after 10 Congress MLAs joined the saffron party on Wednesday. Sawant arrived in the national capital with the 10 MLAs and has been meeting senior BJP leaders, including its working president J P Nadda.
There was no official word over what transpired in his meeting with Shah, also the Union home minister, at the latter's office in Parliament. Party sources said a Cabinet reshuffle in Goa is likely with the induction of the 10 MLAs. Sawant will have to drop current ministers, many of whom are BJP allies whose support was crucial to his government's survival, to accommodate the defectors from the Congress.
A group of ten Goa Congress MLAs, who merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), increasing the saffron party's strength to 27 in the 40-seat house, left for Delhi along with Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to meet Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah and the BJP's working president J P Nadda.
Yesterday, Goa Speaker gave a go-ahead to the merger as the total number of defected MLAs was two-thirds of the Congress MLAs in the state.
The Congress, which had emerged as single-largest party after 2017 Assembly polls in the coastal state, is now reduced to five legislators.
This comes even before the situation in Karnataka could be resolved and MLAs continued to resign even on Wednesday.
The Goa MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met the Seaker Rajesh Patnekar on Wednesday evening and gave him a letter informing him about them breaking away from the Congress.
Sawant later met the MLAs and welcomed them into the party. He said, "10 Congress MLAs, along with their Opposition Leader, have merged with BJP. Strength of BJP has now risen to 27. They had come for development of the state and their constituency. They have not put forward any condition, they have joined BJP unconditionally."
However, the rebel Congress MLAs are yet to make a statement on the sudden shift.
The MLAs include Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred DSa, Nilkant Halarnkar and Isidor Fernandes.
The present strength of the Congress party in Goa is 15. With this, the party is left with only five MLAs.
BJP is the single largest party with 17, Goa Forward Party and Independents have three each, while one MLA each is from NCP and MGP.