Goa Assembly Speaker Accepts Merger of Congress Legislature Party Into BJP

Eight of the 11 Congress MLAs, including Lobo and veteran leader Digambar Kamat, had jumped ship and joined the BJP.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande

Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Thursday, 16 September, accepted the merger of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) into the ruling BJP.

Michael Lobo, the leader of opposition in the Goa Assembly, had moved a resolution for the merger on 13 September after eight of the 11 Congress MLAs, including Lobo and veteran leader Digambar Kamat, had jumped ship and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

The other Congress MLAs, who switched over to the saffron party, include Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes.

Tawadkar went through the letter submitted by the MLAs and found that they have the required numbers, he told the reporters.


Can a party merge into another?

The law allows a party to merge with another provided two-thirds of its MLAs are in favour of the merger.

This is mentioned in The Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, popularly known as the anti-defection law. It was introduced in 1985 to prevent political defections. A legislator is said to have defected when he/she voluntarily gives up the membership of the party or disobeys the directives of a party leadership on vote.

Legislators risk disqualification from the membership of the House, unless two-thirds of a party’s MLAs decide to defect and/or merge with another party. In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.

Taking a swipe at the saffron party as well as the turncoats, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, "Those who are vulnerable to investigating agencies will join the BJP. A classic example to prove this fact is the Assam CM. BJP used to attack him on a daily basis when he was in Congress. Now, there's not even a single case against him."

We did make a mistake in letting the new BJP joinees in Goa enter the Congress. Now they've entered BJP washing machine. People will be pressured to leave.
Jairam Ramesh, MP, Congress

Defections: A political antecedent in Goa

In April 2021, then Goa Speaker Rajesh Patnekar had held that MLAs of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) cannot be disqualified from the Goa Assembly for joining the BJP, as two-thirds of the legislators had decided to switch sides.

The Speaker had said that elected representatives express the will of the people as well as party, and the Constitution has given paramount importance to the decision of elected MLAs and their wisdom as regards the merger, The Times of India has reported.

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Topics:  Goa   Goa BJP   Goa Congress 

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