In a major setback, the Congress on Tuesday lost its single largest party tag in Goa after two of its lawmakers resigned as the members of the state Assembly. Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte faxed their resignations to the office of Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant after meeting BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi. The two rebel Congress leaders are set to join the BJP later in the day.
"We are joining BJP today. We expect two-three more legislators to come, not today but in the coming days," ANI quoted Subhash Shirodkar as saying after his meeting with the BJP chief.
This comes as a major blow to the Congress party that had been trying to convince the Goa Governor to invite it to form the government in the state in wake of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s poor health condition.
However, with the exit of Shirodkar and Sopte, the Congress party’s strength depleted to 14 MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly.
Reacting to the development, Congress leader A Chellakumar said that their MLAs were intimidated by Amit Shah and accused Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane of poaching.
"I got a message that Vishwajit Rane was the man who has convinced and taken them to Delhi and he has bargained with the BJP high command that if he got the two Congress MLAs, he should be made the Chief Minister," Chellakumar said.
The Congress party had recently approached President Ram Nath Kovind and asked him to direct Goa Governor Mridula Sinha to invite them to form the government in the state.