A group of ten Congress MLAs in Goa led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar who resigned from the party and merged with the ruling BJP have officially joined the saffron party in Delhi on Thursday. The Congress, which had emerged as single-largest party after 2017 Assembly polls in the coastal state, is now reduced to five legislators.
Accompanied by Kavlekar and nine other Congress MLAs, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had Wednesday announced that two thirds of the Congress Legislative Party—enough to avoid action under the anti-defection law—has merged into the BJP. The dissident Congress MLAs have taken the BJP membership in the presence of BJP Working President JP Nadda and Goa CM Pramod Sawant.
Delhi: 10 Congress MLAs from Goa join BJP in presence of BJP Working President JP Nadda & Goa CM Pramod Sawant. pic.twitter.com/VFVxKrymrT— ANI (@ANI) July 11, 2019
On Wednesday, the letter of merger was handed over to Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in Sawant’s presence. Patnekar later confirmed that he had received the letter. The Goa chief minister said that the Congress MLAs had expressed their willingness to join the BJP and they accepted their request.
At this juncture the BJP had not taken any decision as to its coalition partners (whether to keep them in government or not), he added. With 27 MLAs, the party does not need allies anymore.
The monsoon session of the Assembly is scheduled to begin from July 15. To a question, Sawant said no new inductions in the state cabinet were on cards. “At least for now we have not decided anything,” he said.
Kavlekar said he and other MLAs decided to join the BJP as development works in their constituencies were suffering as they were in opposition.
“We have seen Sawant’s working style. He is working for the progress of the state. We decided to join hands with him. Being in opposition, our development works were also suffering,” Kavlekar said, adding that the MLAs joined the saffron party unconditionally.
The MLAs who joined the BJP alongwith Kavlekar are Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred D’Sa, Nilkant Halarnkar, Isidor Fernandes and Antonio Fernandes.