Goa: Two Congress MLAs become saviour of BJP government in Goa

The Congress party recently demanded that they be invited to form government in the state, since the BJP-led coalition was in a state of flux over Manohar Parrikar's health. Congress was the single largest party and had more seats than the BJP before the defection today.

Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte join BJP in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal (Photo: ANI on Twitter)

Two Goa Congress lawmakers became saviour of the BJP government in Goa after meeting BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi. Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, who flew to Delhi late night on Monday, faxed their resignation letters to Speaker Pramod Sawant. By Tuesday evening, they joined the BJP.

“I received resignation from 2 Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar. They confirmed they are doing this willingly, without any pressure. I accepted the resignations. Process will be completed, copies will be sent to all members of House, Governor and Election Commission,” ANI quoted Goa Assembly speaker Pramod Sawant.

According to a tweet from ANI, both Congress Lawmakers have joined the BJP in presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Both had sent the resignation from Delhi itself by fax.

After this defection, Congress has lost its hope to form the government in Goa once again. Earlier Congress had 16 MLAs.

“Strength of the assembly now is 38. Party strength is BJP 14, Congress 14, MGP 3, Goa Forward 3, NCP 1, independent 3. We have informed EC, it is up to them as to when there should be a by-poll etc,” Goa Assembly speaker Pramod Sawant told ANI.

“We expect two-three more legislators to come (with us), not today but in the coming days,” Subhash Shirodkar was quoted as telling news agency ANI after his meeting with the BJP president.

According to a report published in NDTV, Congress leader A Chellakumar told PTI that he had spoken to both the legislators last night and they had assured him that they were not quitting the party. This morning, that changed dramatically.

Chellakumar admitted that the legislators “may have been taken by the BJP”. He alleged that the two were intimidated by Amit Shah and poached by Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who is seen to be aiming for the Chief Minister’s post in case Manohar Parrikar steps down over his poor health.

“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 as per the news channel’s report.

The ruling BJP, with 14 lawmakers, has the support of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party – both with three lawmakers each, three independent lawmakers and one legislator from the Nationalist Congress Party.

The Congress party recently demanded that they be invited to form government in the state, since the BJP-led coalition was in a state of flux over Manohar Parrikar’s health. Manohar Parrikar is the current chief minister of India and suffering from pancreas cancer.

According to a report published in Indian Express, Ex-Goa Chief Minister and Senior BJP Leader Laxmikant Parsekar is not happy with this move. “I was not taken into confidence by the BJP before taking Sopte into the party,” Parsekar was quoted as saying by PTI.

Parsekar having served as the chief minister of the state from November 2014 to March 2017, was defeated by Sopte from Mandrem seat in the assembly elections held last year.

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