Two months after Goa faced a defection crisis, eight Congress MLAs from Goa joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), state BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade said on Wednesday.
Soon, the Goa Congress Legislature Party passed a resolution to merge into the BJP.
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.
Prior to this development, the Congress had 11 legislators in the 40-member Goa Assembly and the BJP had 20.
After the resolution was passed, a picture of the eight MLAs meeting Chief Minister Pramod Sawant surfaced on social media.
In the picture, MLAs Michael Lobo along with Digambar Kamat, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes were seen interacting with the chief minister.
Earlier, the Congress unit in Goa faced the defection of 10 of 15 party MLAs to the BJP on 10 July. In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs switched over to the BJP.
Meanwhile, Lobo, one of the eight Congress MLAs in Goa who joined the BJP said they took the decision to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
A resolution was passed in the Congress Legislature Party meeting here on Wednesday to merge with the BJP, Lobo said.
The opposition is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member state Assembly.
The eight MLAs - former chief minister Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes - joined the BJP in presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade.
Briefing mediapersons in the presence of Chief Minister Sawant, Lobo said the Congress Legislature Party met on Wednesday morning during which they decided to merge with the BJP.
The decision was taken to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Goa CM Pramod Sawant, he said.
“We have started Congress Chhodo Yatra from Goa,” he said.
Lobo said the resolution has been submitted to the state legislature secretary and the chief minister.
Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar has also been informed about the development, he said.
The Speaker is currently in New Delhi.
Digambar Kamat told reporters that he took the decision to join the BJP based on the circumstances.
“When I was not chosen as leader of opposition by the party (after the Goa polls held earlier this year), I had expressed my displeasure. If you see the letter of Gulam Nabi Azad (who quit the Congress recently), you will be able to draw the conclusion,” Kamat said.
He said the country is witnessing development under PM Modi. “Indians are being looked at with respect,” Kamat added.
(with PTI inputs)