Congress MLA Yuri Alemao was Friday appointed as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Goa legislative assembly, two weeks after the former LoP Micheal Lobo and seven other Congress MLAs switched over to the BJP in a merger of the two legislature parties in Goa.
After the Congress was reduced from 11 to three MLAs in the 40-member House, political circles were abuzz with talks of Goa Forward Party merging with the Congress and its lone fiery MLA Vijai Sardesai staking claim to the coveted office of the LoP. However, putting all speculations to rest, the Goa legislative assembly Friday recognised Alemao as the LoP, days after the Congress party named him it’s legislature party leader.
AICC Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao in a tweet Friday said, “Our CLP leader of @INCGoa is now officially the Leader Of Opposition in the Goa Assembly. I’m sure Mr @Yurialemao9 will make use of this position to fight for the rights of the people & the development of #Goa. I wish him the very best.”
Our CLP leader of @INCGoa is now officially the Leader Of Opposition in the Goa Assembly.
I wish him the very best. pic.twitter.com/aUJCJmGVqF
— Dinesh Gundu Rao/ದಿನೇಶ್ ಗುಂಡೂರಾವ್ (@dineshgrao) September 30, 2022
The Opposition benches have just seven MLAs left in the Goa legislative assembly. While Congress has the most number of legislators after BJP with three MLAs, they are followed by two from the AAP and one each from the Goa Forward Party and Revolutionary Goans Party.
After eight Congress MLAs defected to the BJP on September 14, the saffron party’s strength in the 40-member House increased from 20 to 28. After the assembly poll results were declared in March, the BJP formed the government with the support of two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLAs and three Independent MLAs.
Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi had on September 20, appointed first-time MLA Yuri Alemao as the leader of its Legislature Party in the Goa Assembly.
This is the second time in three years that the Congress was stung by defection, which happened despite the party raising red flags and seeking its former MLAs Micheal Lobo’s and Digambar Kamat’s disqualification.
In a similar fashion, two-thirds (then 10 of 15) Congress MLAs had defected to the BJP in July 2019.
Apart from Alemao, the two remaining Congress MLAs are former Advocate General of Goa Carlos Ferreira and hotelier Altone D’costa. All three are first- time legislators and Christians.
While Ferreira represents the Aldona constituency in North Goa, Alemao and D’costa represent Cuncolim and Quepem, respectively, in South Goa.
The Congress’s decision to pick Alemao over Ferreira to lead its Legislature Party underscores its decision to promote the party’s younger generation.
After the Assembly election, the party also appointed 38-year-old Amit Patkar as its state unit chief.
Son of former Congress MLA and minister Joaquim Alemao, Yuri Alemao, a commercial pilot, had earlier said he was not present when, in January, the party’s election candidates took oath at places of worship not to defect after being elected. It was his conscience that kept him back in the Congress, he said.