New Delhi: The winds of political crisis are now blowing from Karnataka to Goa, as 10 out of 15 Congress MLAs in the state left the party and merged with the BJP.
The group, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the evening of July 10 and gave him a letter, informing him about their breaking away from the party.
“Ten 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 demand and have joined BJP unconditionally,” Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.
The MLAs include Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred DSa, Nilkant Halarnkar and Isidor Fernandes.
Kavlekar said: “Ten of us entered BJP today, because the CM is doing good work. I was Leader of Opposition, despite that development work in our constituency could not be done. Despite being the single largest party we could not form the government.”
As the 10 MLAs make up for two-thirds of the Congress’s strength in the Assembly, they will not attract the anti-defection law.
CM Sawant was present when the group arrived at the Assembly complex around 7.30pm. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo was also present.
With 10 MLAs changing sides, the strength of Congress in the House would be reduced to five. BJP is the single largest party with 17 MLAs, Goa Forward Party and Independents have three each, while one MLA each is from NCP and MGP. With these new members, the BJP’s strength in the House will touch 27, and it will gain a simple majority. At present, the saffron party rules Goa with the support of the Goa Forward Party and the Independents.
Sawant was sworn in as CM in March this year, after the death of then CM Manohar Parrikar.
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