New Delhi: The Congress’ cup of woes is overflowing, or so it seemed on Wednesday. While the party focused on Karnataka, where last weekend party MLAs and some from JDS began a resignation spree, with the coalition government threatening to collapse, Goa MLAs, ten of the 15 in the Assembly, broke away and merged with the BJP. (Catch Karnataka Action Here)
Since they were two-thirds their number in the Assembly, the Goa Speaker gave his go-ahead to their merger. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, “Ten Congress MLAs, along with their Opposition Leader, have merged with BJP. The strength of BJP has now risen to 27…They have not put forward any condition, they have joined BJP unconditionally.”
Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar said, “Congress MLAs gave me a letter that they are merging with BJP. The second letter was given by Goa CM Pramod Sawant that the strength of the BJP has been changed. I have accepted both letters.”
On his part, Chandrakant Kavlekar, explained the merger thus, “Ten of us entered into BJP today, just 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.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar, “The BJP has exposed its intense insecurity with its coalition partner and within its camp by inducting 10 Congress MLAs in their camp. They are not attempting to have One Nation One Election but One Nation One Party.”
In Karnataka, the day began with two more MLAs quitting and ended with Section 144 being imposed outside the Assembly. This came after senior Congress, JDS leaders were detained following their protest outside the Vidhan Soudha. Ruckus had also broken out there.
Reports said CM HD Kumaraswamy might resign on Thursday while the CM office convened a Cabinet meeting in the morning.
In Mumbai, where senior Congress leader and Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar had gone to probably placate the dissident MLAs and bring them back to the fold, was detained from outside the hotel.
Reportedly, the MLAs had sought police protection and had said they didn’t want to meet Shivakumar. They had claimed that friendship was one thing but there was no way they would want to be coerced as they had quit of their free will.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah alleged, “What made BJP people do rowdyism like that? BJP MLAs and workers are rowdies. I condemn it. It is [quite] evident that BJP leaders, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are behind all this. They are threatening our MLAs.”
Commenting on the crisis in the state, BJP MLA Basavaraj Bommai had said, “I urge Governor to intervene and throw away this Kumaraswamy government. I urge Kumaraswamy if you continue with Congress your image will be totally tarnished. In good wisdom resign and vacate the place.”
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy was upset with the Maharashtra police’s action and said, “Manhandling ministers and MLAs is annoying and unbecoming of Mumbai Police. Such hasty act by Maharashtra Government reinforces the suspicion on BJP of horse-trading. This is a blackmark on the republic setup of our country.”
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Speaker insisted he hadn’t accepted any resignations. KR Ramesh Kumar said, “I can’t do it overnight like that. I have given them time on 17th. I’ll go through the procedure and take a decision.”
So while in Goa, the BJP government gets a firmer foothold, in Karnataka, the saffron party has to wait some more.