The bad news for India’s oldest political party seems never-ending. On one side, Congress is struggling to save the coalition government in Karnataka and on the other side, the party is now met with a new crisis in Goa. On July 10, 10 of the total 15 MLAs in the Goa assembly submitted their resignation to the speaker and joined the BJP. Speaker has accepted the resignations.
Speaker Rajesh Patnekar clarified that there will be no delay in the onset of the monsoon session of the assembly and it will start on July 15.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant welcomed the MLAs and said that these MLAs have joined the BJP party for the development of the state and their constituencies. He said, “They(MLAs) have joined the BJP unconditionally.”
The CM also said that the anti-defection law will not come into play. As per the anti-defection law, a party can merge with another party only if two-thirds of its legislatures are in the favour of the merger.
The ten MLAs who have defected to the BJP are Atanasio Monserrate, Nilkanth Halarnkar, Clafasio Dias, Wilfred D’Sa, Tony Fernandes, Francisco Silveira, Jennifer Monserrate, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Chandrakant Kavlekar, and Isidore Fernandes.
Of the remaining five who have not joined BJP, four were former state CM – Pratapsingh Rane, Alex Reginaldo, Digambar Kamat, Ravi Naik, and Luzinho Falerio.
With the resignation of 10 MLAs, the BJP strength in the 40 member assembly has increased to 27 whereas Congress which emerged as the single-largest party in Goa after 2017 assembly polls is reduced to five.
According to reports, CM Pramod Sawant is anticipated to advocate a cabinet reshuffle on July 11 with Kavalekar being inducted as the deputy Chief Minister. Currently, Goa Forward Party president – Vijai Sardesai is holding the deputy CM’s post. However, Sawant on July 11 told reporters that no decision regarding the reshuffle in the cabinet is made. He said the call for reshuffle will be taken up by the party’s central leadership.
Currently, Goa CM and the 10 Congress MLAs are in New Delhi to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah.