Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant sought to take a jibe at the Congress after eight of the 11 MLAs of the grand old party in the state jumped ship to join the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday. The development, which has come as a huge blow to the Congress, saw many of its veterans including former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo shift their loyalties to the BJP.
“We are committed to take the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister ShriNarendra Modi ji of building #NewIndia ahead. The #CongressChhoro Yatra begins in Goa,” Sawant tweeted soon after the eight rebel MLAs were inducted into the BJP.
Sawant’s “Congress Chhoro” reference in his tweet was a sly dig at Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, the ambitious 3,500-km foot-march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir in a bid to unite India.
Putting up a brave front after the loss of face in Goa following the defection of close to 75 per cent of its MLAs, the Congress sought to connect the exit of its legislators with the success of its Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“Operation Kichad of BJP in Goa has been fast tracked because of the visible success of the #BharatJodoYatra. BJP is nervous. A daily dose of diversion & disinformation is handed out to undermine the Yatra. We remain undeterred. We will overcome these dirty tricks of the BJP,” tweeted Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh.
The developments in Goa have triggered some sharp reactions from other Opposition parties as well. The Aam Aadmi Party, for instance, sought to suggest that voting for the Congress was akin to voting for the BJP.
“Operation Lotus fails in Delhi and Punjab, succeeds in Goa… Because when you vote for Congress, you elect a future BJP MLA,” tweeted AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, while adding, “Congress is over, resting in pieces.”
The MLAs who quit the Congress and joined BJP today include mong those MLAs who joined the BJP today include Kamat, Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes.