Goa: 10 Congress MLAs switch over to BJP

Politics

11 Jul 2019

Amid Karnataka crisis, 10 Congress MLAs quit in Goa

While the Congress is dealing with an acute crisis in Karnataka, it suffered a major setback in Goa after 10 of its 15 MLAs quit to join the state's ruling party BJP.

Among those who dumped Congress is Chandrakant Kavlekar, the leader of the opposition in the assembly.

With this defection, Congress is left with only five MLAs in the state.

Here's what happened.

MLAs

BJP's strength in Goa assembly has now risen to 27

BJP's strength in Goa assembly has now risen to 27

The MLAs who quit Congress are Chandrakant Kavlekar, Isidore Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Jennifer, Atanasio Monserrate, Antonio Fernandes, Nilakanth Halarnkar, Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D'Sa.

They requested assembly speaker Rajesh Patnekar to merge their group with BJP, and he accepted.

With this, BJP's strength in 40-member assembly rose to 27.

The lawmakers are expected to meet BJP President Amit Shah on Thursday.

On stunning development, CM Sawant said MLAs joined BJP 'unconditionally'

"10 Congress MLAs, along with their Opposition Leader, have merged with the BJP. They had come for the development of the state and their constituency. They have not put forward any condition, they have joined BJP unconditionally," said Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

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Anti-defection law

Won't these MLAs be disqualified under anti-defection law? Apparently, not

As it turns out, Congress MLAs won't be disqualified under the anti-defection law.

According to an amendment which came to force in 2004, defections are only allowed if two-thirds or more of another party's strength, decide to switch over.

Since these legislators make for two-thirds of Congress strength in Goa, they will remain in the assembly.

Patnekar said only their seating arrangement will change.

Statement

After leaving Congress, Kavlekar said party failed to form government

After leaving Congress, Kavlekar said party failed to form government

About the decision, Kavlekar said the MLAs switched over to BJP because they wanted development for their respective constituencies.

"If no development is done, how will people choose us next time? They (Congress) couldn't fulfill 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," he added.

Government

Despite emerging as single largest party, Congress couldn't govern Goa

After 2017 Goa assembly polls, Congress emerged as the single-largest party but failed to form a government. With just 13 MLAs, BJP swept the opportunity and formed the government with the support of Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, and three independents.

The allies only had one condition that Manohar Parrikar should remain as Chief Minister.

Notably, Parrikar passed away in March.

Negotiator

Leader, credited for 'negotiating' merger, said he isn't eyeing ministry

Leader, credited for 'negotiating' merger, said he isn't eyeing ministry

Atanasio Monserrate, who has just two months ago snatched Panjim seat from BJP in by polls, is said to be the "negotiator". But he denied it.

"We got together and said this is the best way out as far as development is concerned. I am not looking out for any ministry," Monserrate told IE.

When asked about the timing (considering Karnataka crisis), Monserrate said it's a "fantastic coincidence".

Reaction

Naturally, Goa Congress President blamed BJP for decision of MLAs

Commenting on the turn of events, President of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Girish Chodankar said it was time for the party to go "back to grassroots level". He also held BJP responsible for the "merger".

"Despite having clear numbers, BJP CM Pramod Sawant indulging in such unethical practices has displayed his fear to face the united opposition in the upcoming Assembly session," he said.

Details

The new BJP members could be made ministers

The new BJP members could be made ministers

Currently, Congress has just five MLAs in the state, namely Ravi Naik, Luizinho Faleiro, Pratapsingh Rane, Digambar Kamat, and Alex Reginaldo. The first four of the lot have served as Chief Ministers.

Reportedly, the lack of unity and poor leadership within Congress drove the MLAs away.

In all probability, BJP will now drop a few cabinet ministers to make way for new inductees.

Karnataka

Meanwhile, Congress is fighting for survival in Karnataka

The setback in Goa comes at a time when Congress is already fighting for breath in Karnataka.

Its coalition government with JD(S) has come extremely close to collapse after legislators quit.

On Saturday, 13 MLAs- three from JD(S) and 10 from Congress quit. They were followed by two independents, and on Wednesday two more MLAs dumped the government.

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Most asked questions

Who are the Congress MLAs who left the party in Goa?

What is BJP's strength in Goa assembly?

Who is the Chief Minister of Goa?

Who is Chandrakant Kavalekar?

More questions

Who are the Congress MLAs who left the party in Goa?

Asked 2019-07-11 10:12:11 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

The ten MLAs who switched over to BJP are Chandrakant Kavlekar, Isidore Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Jennifer, Atanasio Monserrate, Antonio Fernandes, Nilakanth Halarnkar, Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D'Sa.

What is BJP's strength in Goa assembly?

Asked 2019-07-11 10:12:11 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

BJP's strength in Goa assembly stands at 27.

Who is the Chief Minister of Goa?

Asked 2019-07-11 10:12:11 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

Pramod Sawant is the Chief Minister of Goa.

Who is Chandrakant Kavalekar?

Asked 2019-07-11 10:12:11 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

Chandrakant Kavalekar is a Congress leader, who led the opposition in Goa assembly. He joined BJP.

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