In Goa, eight Congress MLAs have joined BJP on Wednesday, 14 September, Goa Chief Minister and BJP leader Pramod Sawant informed. Sawant further added that the 8 MLAs have joined ‘unconditionally’. “With today’s development, the BJP now enjoys the support of 33 MLAs (including two of the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party and three Independents). These Congress MLAs have joined the BJP unconditionally,” Sawant said.
Welcomed and congratulated the 8 MLAs who joined the BJP, including Former Chief Minister Shri @digambarkamat, Leader of Opposition Shri @MichaelLobo76 and other Senior Leaders of Congress, in presence of @BJP4Goa President Shri @ShetSadanand and other Senior Leaders of BJP. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/W7kpFyhJOV
— Dr. Pramod Sawant (@DrPramodPSawant) September 14, 2022
Speaking to media persons, Goa BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanawade said, veteran Congress leader & former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, former minister Michael Lobo and other congress MLAs joined BJP. Rebel Congress MLAs held a party legislative meeting and submitted a letter of merger with BJP.
Welcomed all 8 MLAs who have joined the @BJP4Goa by the way of merger. I am sure that with the new MLAs joining, and Nav Bharat Nirman Sankalpana of Hon’ble PM @narendramodi Ji, the development of #Goa will rise to the next level. pic.twitter.com/coZRc0qKLJ
— SADANAND SHET TANAVADE सदानंद शेट तानावडे (@ShetSadanand) September 14, 2022
The eight MLAs who joined BJP are Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes.
With eight MLAs breaking away as a group, that is two-thirds of the party strength, they can avoid disqualification under the anti-defection law. Michael Lobo said, it is Congress chhoro (quit Congress), BJP ko jodo.
In the 40-member Goa Assembly, the Congress has 11 legislators and the BJP has 20 MLAs and support of 2 MGP MLAs and 3 independent MLAs. In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs switched over to the BJP.
It is worth noting that the Congress Legislative members had on 22 January, ahead of the state Legislative election pledged their loyalty to Congress if they were elected. They pledged that if elected they would remain in the party through the term and not defect.
The grand old party has been hit by a series of resignation across the country including veteran leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Gujarat Youth Congress President Vishwanathsinh Vaghela, Rajinder Prasad, who is also the son of late Master Beli Ram Sharma from Nowshera.
The damage to the Congress party in Goa comes at a time when Rahul Gandhi has embarked on a journey of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ to oppose the NDA government in the Centre.