Goa Congress in tatters: 8 of 11 MLAs join BJP
In yet another big blow to the already crumbling Indian National Congress (INC), eight of its 11 MLAs in Goa switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. These turncoats include popular faces such as former Congress Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, and the current Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo. The high-voltage political drama comes amid the grand old party's 3,570-kilometer Bharat Jodo Yatra.
- For months, the Congress has seen internal upheaval, with several senior politicians quitting critical positions or retiring entirely.
- Last month, veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned from the party and wrote a scathing letter to chief Sonia Gandhi.
- Over the last few months, popular leaders such as Kapil Sibal, Sunil Jakhar, Jaiveer Shergill, RPN Singh, and Hardik Patel have also quit the party.
Seven months after taking a 'loyalty oath' with Rahul Gandhi, the MLAs switched to the saffron side. Eight MLAs met Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and joined the BJP, leaving just three MLAs with the Congress. The turncoats include Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Sankalp Amonkar, Kedar Naik, Aleixo Sequeira, and Rudolf Fernandes. "It is Congress chhodho, BJP ko jodo (leave Congress, join BJP)," quipped Lobo.
Goa | 8 Congress MLAs including Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira Rudolf Fernandes join BJP in presence of CM Pramod Sawant pic.twitter.com/uxp7YaZAUN— ANI (@ANI) September 14, 2022
After holding a Congress Legislature Party meeting on Wednesday morning, the MLAs decided to merge with the BJP and submitted a letter to the Secretary (Legislature). The move leaves Congress with three MLAs and the opposition with seven MLAs, and the BJP now has 28 of the 40 MLAs in Goa. The purported "Operation Lotus" in Goa comes as a shock to the Congress.
Taking a jibe at the Congress, CM Sawant said, "They started the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but I think Congress Chhodo Yatra started in Goa." Meanwhile, Lobo claimed that many top leaders will also quit Congress in the coming days due to "too much of differences amongst themselves." The defecting MLAs had met CM Sawant on Wednesday morning.
Goa | 8 Congress MLAs incl Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira Rudolf Fernandes to join BJP today; also met with CM Pramod Sawant pic.twitter.com/rAffvBqMzB— ANI (@ANI) September 14, 2022
In 2019, the Congress was divided in a similar fashion. Two-thirds of its MLAs, or 10 of the 15 legislators, joined the BJP, and that's why the MLAs took a loyalty pledge before the assembly elections this year. The shocking defection comes at a time when the assembly is not in session, and the BJP rules Goa with a comfortable majority.