‘Congress Chhodo Yatra’: Goa CM Pramod Sawant, as 8 MLAs Join BJP

In the 40-member Goa Assembly, Congress is now reduced to three legislators, while BJP's tally has increased to 28.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande

Eight Congress MLAs, including habitual turncoats Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday, 14 September.

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.

Welcoming the MLAs into the BJP, Sawant said, "Congress started the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', but I think 'Congress Chhodo Yatra' started in Goa. People from across the country are leaving Congress & joining BJP."

Meanwhile, Lobo told news agency ANI, "People of Goa have told us that 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' is not going to be a success because of big infighting amongst the topmost leaders of the Congress party."

We have joined BJP to strengthen the hands of PM Modi and CM Pramod Sawant... 'Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo'
Michael Lobo, former Congress MLA

Earlier today, the Goa Congress Legislature Party had reportedly passed a resolution to merge into the BJP soon after the state BJP chief, Sadanand Shet Tanavade, announced that eight of the eleven Congress MLAs were jumping ship to the ruling party in the state.

Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly Michael Lobo had moved the resolution in the presence of seven other MLAs. The resolution was seconded by former chief minister and MLA Digambar Kamat, sources told PTI.


'When you vote for Congress, you elect a future BJP MLA'

On the defections, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "This is 'Operation Keechad.' The BJP has resorted to all kinds of tactics – central investigation agencies, threats by goons, lure of money. This only indicates that the BJP is rattled by Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra."

Meanwhile, Vijai Sardesai, chief of Goa Forward Party (GFP) and its lone MLA, called the eight MLAs "symbols of pure evil." GFP is an ally of the Congress in the state Assembly.

The eight legislators who have decided, against all political propriety, basic decency and honesty, to pursue their greed for wealth and hunger for power, stand today as the symbols of pure evil.
Vijai Sardesai, Chief, Goa Forward Party

Taking potshots at the Congress AAP leader Raghav Chadha said, "When you vote for Congress, you elect a future BJP MLA."


Goa Congress: Ravaged by Defections

In the 40-member Goa Assembly, the Congress is now reduced to three legislators, while the BJP's tally has increased to 28.

In the 40-member Goa Assembly, Congress is now reduced to three legislators, while BJP's tally has increased to 28.

Ahead of joining the ruling party, the eight MLAs had met with Goa CM Pramod Sawant

(Photo Credit: Accessed by The Quint)

In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs had switched over to the BJP.

In July this year, the Congress had sought the disqualification of its senior leaders Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat for allegedly engineering a split in the Goa Congress.

At that time, Goa Congress chief Amit Patkar had said that party had successfully foiled the BJP’s attempts to split the Congress, "The BJP is resorting to such tactics as it does not want any Opposition in the states where they are ruling," Patkar added.

Habitual Turncoats

Michael Lobo is the MLA of the Calangute Assembly constituency and the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly.

Lobo, along with his wife Delilah, had ditched the BJP and joined the grand old party in January this year, ahead of Assembly elections in Goa. Lobo, who was a minister in the Pramod Sawant-led government, had cited “sidelining of leaders handpicked by Manohar Parrikar” as the reason to jump ship, NDTV reported.

Meanwhile, 68-year-old Digambar Kamat, the seven-time MLA from Margao, has oscillated between the BJP and the Congress several times since when he first joined the saffron party in 1994.

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Topics:  Congress   Goa   BJP Goa 

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