In a dramatic turn of events in Goa, two-thirds (10 of the 15) MLAs of the Congress Legislative Party Wednesday resigned and met the Speaker of the 40-member Assembly in their bid to merge with the ruling BJP. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo has confirmed that all resignations were accepted.
The group, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the evening and gave him a letter, informing him about their breaking away from the party.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who was also present there, said the 10 Congress MLAs have merged with the BJP, taking the latter’s tally up 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,” ANI quoted him as saying.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Babush Monserrate, who recently won the Panjim bypoll with the Congress seat, said the MLAs decided yesterday to make the switch to work for the betterment for their constituencies and fulfill their promises made to the people. He declined that he was the negotiator for the group. “We are all friends and colleagues… I told them this is the best way out for the development of our constituencies,” he said.
Goa: 10 Congress MLAs resign, seek merger with ruling BJP.
Babush Monserrate, who recently won the Panjim bypoll, to The Indian Express: ‘It was the best way out to work for constituencies.’
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On a similar political crisis in Karnataka where a total of 15 Congress and JDS MLAs submitted their resignations, Babush called it a “fantastic coincidence.”
Deputy Speaker Lobo said the MLAs will now meet Home Minister Amit Shah before officially joining the BJP. “They decided to join us to strengthen the resolve given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards a strong governance,” he said.
The MLAs include Babu Kavalekar, Chandrakant Kavlekar, Babush Monserrate, his wife Jeniffer Monserrate, Francisco Silveira, Filipe Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred DSa, Nilkanth Halarnkar and Isidore Fernandes.
With 10 MLAs changing sides, the strength of the Congress in the House would fall to five. The BJP, which is the single largest party in the state with 17 seats, will have claim over 27 seats. Goa Forward Parrty and Independents have three each, while one MLA each is from NCP and MGP.
The anti-defection law makes it mandatory that two-thirds of the strength of a party should agree for a ‘merger’. The amendment, which came into force in January 2004, does not recognise a ‘split’ in a legislature party and instead, it recognises a ‘merger’.
The recent developments come amid another political crisis for the grand old party in Karnataka where the ruling JDS-Congress coalition is in a precarious condition. A total of 15 Congress and JDS MLAs have submitted their resignations even as the ruling coalition continues to make efforts to pacify them. If the resignations are accepted by the Speaker, the strength of the coalition will fall to 101 compared to the BJP’s 105 plus two Independents in the state.