Congress wipeout in Goa: Speaker accepts merger of Goa Congress Legislative Party with BJP | The Financial Express

Congress wipeout in Goa: Speaker accepts merger of Goa Congress Legislative Party with BJP

With disqualification under anti-defection law out of the question, the Congress party stands completely obliterated, after being reduced to only 3 MLAs in the 40-member Goa state assembly.

Congress wipeout in Goa: Speaker accepts merger of Goa Congress Legislative Party with BJP
Goa Congress MLAs meet CM Pramod Sawant before joining BJP.

Day after eight of its remaining 11 MLAs in Goa jumped ship to join BJP, Congress suffered a huge loss of face as the state legislative assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Thursday said that he has accepted the proposal of merging the state Congress legislative party with the BJP, reported news agency PTI.

According to the anti-defection law, if two-thirds of legislators from a party merge with another party, then the MLAs cannot be disqualified. With disqualification out of the question, the Congress party stands completely obliterated, after being reduced to only 3 MLAs in the 40-member Goa state assembly.

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The Congress, which has been in a perpetual state of decline, witnessed another mass defection of its legislators in Goa on Wednesday. As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo march entered its seventh day, former Congress Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo, while joining BJP, said, “It’s time for Congress chodo, BJP ko jodo.”

The Congress, in turn, engaged in wordplay and called BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ as ‘Operation Keechad’ (mud) in Goa. The Congress said that it was not affected by the recent exodus, and claimed that the BJP is engineering such splits in a desperate move, daunted by the success of the Bharat Jodo yatra.

After the first defection bid was foiled back in July which eventually led to the removal of Lobo from the LoP post, a helpless Congress couldn’t prevent it from happening again this time around. Back in 2019, the Congress saw 10 of its 15 MLAs joining BJP. This time around, the defection further signified the merger of two legislative parties in Goa.

On Thursday, former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Lobo’s wife Delilah, Aleixo Sequeira, Sankalp Amonkar, Kedar Naik, Rajesh Phal Dessai and Rudolfo Fernandes joined BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Tanavade.

Also Read | ‘Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo’: Eight of 11 Congress MLAs join BJP in Goa

After joining BJP, Kamat said, “I went to a temple, asked Gods and Goddesses that this (joining BJP) is in my mind, what should I do… God said, you go ahead, don’t worry.”

Earlier this year, Kamat had led the Goa Congress MLAs ahead of the Assembly polls and went to several places of worship to take a vow before God and stay with the Congress if they were elected. Going a step further, Kamat, along with the team of MLAs, had signed an affidavit mentioning the same in Rahul Gandhi’s presence. However, after joining BJP, Kamat said that the affidavit is of no legal value.

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