Panaji: As if Karnataka wasn’t seeing enough drama, now Congress MLAs in Goa have followed suit and ten of them went ahead on Wednesday and merged with the BJP. Also Read - Rajya Sabha Seat Left Vacant After Ram Vilas Paswan's Death May Not go to LJP Again - This is Why
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told ANI, “Ten Congress MLAs, along with their Opposition Leader, have merged with BJP. The strength of BJP has now risen to 27. They had come for the development of the state and their constituency. They have not put forward any condition, they have joined BJP unconditionally.” Also Read - ED Raids Premises Linked to Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik in Money-Laundering Case
Confirming the development, Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said, “Ten MLAs of Congress, two-thirds of its strength, separated and merged with the BJP. Under Schedule 10 of the Constitution, they have done the merger. Ten MLAs led by Babu Kavlekar (Chandrakant Kavlekar) who was Leader of Opposition earlier, have merged.” Also Read - Sanjay Raut Takes A Dig At BJP With 'Death Anniversary' Jibe, Says Maha Aghadi Govt Will Complete Its Entire Term
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 the 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.”
He added, “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.”
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.”
Interestingly, about a fortnight ago, the Congress and BJP were indulging in claims and counter-claims over the former’s MLAs purportedly wanting to join the latter. While the Congress rubbished the claim that ten of its MLAs were keen on jumping ship, the BJP said that they were denied entry into the saffron party.
The denial from the Congress came after Goa BJP chief Vinay Tendulkar claimed that the MLAs, who according to him were eager to join the saffron party, were refused entry into the party fold as it had a comfortable majority in the Assembly.
Talking to reporters in Panaji, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar had hit out at Tendulkar for his “false” claim and dubbed him a “habitual liar”.