Panaji: In yet another setback to Congress in Goa, a group of eight MLAs led by Michael Lobo, who was removed from post of leader of opposition, joined the ruling BJP on Wednesday.
With this, the number of BJP legislators has gone up to 28 and strength to 33 in the 40-member Assembly.
Congress had 11 MLAs among the 40 members of the House. While BJP had 20 MLAs, which now increased to 28. However, the BJP had support of two MGP legislators besides three independent MLAs. Hence, the strength of the saffron party has gone up to 33 and that of Congress reduced to three.
Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Rajesh Faldesai, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes are the eight legislators which have switched parties.
After the formalities of merger, Lobo along with Digambar Kamat and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant addressed the media at the Assembly complex.
Michael Lobo, speaking to the media, said that eight Congress MLAs had called a CLP meeting in the morning and after discussion decided to merge with BJP.
“We took the resolution of the merging party and handed over a copy to the legislative secretary. We gave one copy to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and informed the Assembly speaker about it,” Lobo said.
“We have joined BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and also for the development of Goa,” Lobo said.
Former Chief Minister Digamabar Kamat said in politics, decisions are based on the circumstances. “I had said initially, that whatever was happening in Congress was not good. If you read the letter of Ghulam Nabi Azad, while leaving Congress, you can draw conclusions that instead of ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ Congress should have launched ‘Congress Jodo Yatra’,” Kamat said.
“Citizens of our nation are treated with respect at international level under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nobody dares to disrespect Indians in any country. Because such an environment has been created by our Prime Minister in the world. India will become a super power. While this is happening, Goa should not stay behind. For this to strengthen the Chief Minister and overall development of Goa we have joined BJP,” Kamat praising the PM and Goa CM said.
Chief Minister Sawant said that Congress eight MLAS have merged with BJP. “I welcome them all. We will take BJP and Goa ahead,”Sawant said.