After Karnataka, political drama in Goa as 10 of 15 Congress MLAs join ruling BJP
Panaji, July 10: In yet another setback for Congress, ten out of 15 Congress lawmakers have split from the party in Goa and merged with the ruling BJP.
This comes amid the ongoing political row in Karnataka that has been enduring after the resignation of ruling coalition Congress-JDS MLAs.
The group, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the evening and gave him a letter, informing him about their breaking away from the party, reported PTI.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant reached the Assembly soon after the MLAs met the Speaker, giving rise to speculations that the Congress MLAs may join the ruling party.
Speaking to reporters Swant 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 & their constituency. They have not put forward any condition, they have joined BJP unconditionally."
Kavlekar, who is said to be the leader of rebel lawmakers, said, "If no development is done how will people choose us next time? They (Congress) couldn't fulfil the promises they made. There were several opportunities to form the government but due to lack of unity among some senior leaders, it could never be done. So we did this."
The MLAs include Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred DSa, Nilkant Halarnkar and Isidor Fernandes. Atanasio Monseratte, who won Panjim bypoll with the Congress seat, is believed to be the "negotiator" for the group.
With 10 MLAs changing sides, the strength of Congress in the House would fall to five. The BJP is the single largest party in the state with 17 MLAs, followed by the Congress at 15, GFP 3, MGP 1, NCP and 2 Independents.
The Congress has been stumbling from crisis to crisis since its defeat in the national election, in which the party won just 52 seats across the country and was wiped out in 17 states.