Barely two months after the Congress appeared to have staved off a defection bid, eight of its 11 MLAs led by prime leaders Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo joined the ruling BJP, lowering the opposition celebration to simply three members in a Home of 40. The mass defection — a 2019 redux for Goa Congress — is vastly embarrassing for the celebration in the course of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ (Unite India March), at which the BJP has been taking jibes: “Jodo (Unite) your celebration first.”
With eight MLAs breaking away as a gaggle — that’s two thirds of the celebration power — they cannot be disqualified underneath the anti-defection legislation. These embrace Michael Lobo’s spouse Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes.
“It’s Congress chhoro (give up Congress), BJP ko jodo,” quipped Michael Lobo because the MLAs introduced their swap in what’s being referred to as yet one more ‘Operation Lotus’, named after the BJP’s ballot image.
“It is ‘Operation Kichad (Mud)’,” reacted Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera. “The BJP used every kind of techniques — central probe companies, threats by goons, lure of cash — to do that, as a result of it’s rattled by the Bharat Jodo Yatra.” Congress ally Goa Ahead Get together reacted with scorn too, saying the defecting MLAs are “symbols of pure evil”.
Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo had been on the centre of the switchover hypothesis in July too, and the Congress had even requested the speaker to disqualify them underneath the anti-defection legislation. The celebration eliminated Michael Lobo as Chief of Opposition, however no alternative was named.
This morning, the MLAs’ assembly with the Speaker set off the hypothesis because the meeting just isn’t in session. State BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade then advised information company PTI that they’re becoming a member of the celebration.
In July, Mr Kamat, a former chief minister, had mentioned he was “shocked and surprised” on the allegations of main a division. Even Michael Lobo, who was within the BJP earlier than becoming a member of the Congress forward of elections earlier this yr, had claimed there was “no discuss of any division”.
Right this moment Mr Kamat mentioned, “We’re sad with Congress. We noticed what occurred with Ghulam Nabi Azad,” referring to the senior chief who just lately give up the celebration whereas questioning Rahul Gandhi’s political acumen. “We’ll work with PM Narendra Modi and Goa CM Pramod Sawant for betterment of the state.”
Goa Congress splintered similarly in 2019, when two thirds of its meeting power — 10 of 15 MLAs — defected to the BJP, which is why the celebration this yr made its candidates take a loyalty vow within the presence of Rahul Gandhi. Evidently, that did not work on at the very least eight of them.
The defection wasn’t surprising despite the fact that in July the Congress managed to maintain at the very least seven of its MLAs with it. There was no last transfer by the 4 others, together with — apart from Mr Lobo and Mr Kamat — Kedar Naik and Delilah Lobo, Mr Lobo’s spouse.
Senior chief Mukul Wasnik had been deputed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to deal with the disaster, and he appeared to have stopped it. Or not fairly, going by what’s occurred at the moment.
Within the Goa meeting, the BJP has a majority of 25 within the Home of 40 — 20 MLAs of its personal, two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Get together, and three independents. This may now go as much as 33. The Congress has three left, plus one from the Goa Ahead Get together. The Aam Aadmi Get together (AAP) has two MLAs and the Revolutionary Goans Get together has one.