Congress splits in Goa after 10 MLAs join BJP | India News

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PANAJI: The storm engulfing Congress in Karnataka expanded to Goa on Wednesday with 10 of their MLAs, led by opposition leader Chandrakant Kavalekar, joining BJP ahead of the monsoon session of the assembly that begins on July 15. With 10 Congress MLAs joining BJP, its strength in the 40-member house has gone up to 27, while Congress has been reduced to five.
Chief minister Pramod Sawant is expected to carry out a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday inducting three former Congress MLAs, including Kavalekar as the deputy chief minister, and deputy speaker Michael Lobo into his ministry after governor Mridula Sinha returns to the state.

Sources said Atanasio Monserrate, who wrested the Panaji seat from BJP represented by former CM Manohar Parrikar for 25 years, would also be inducted into the cabinet. Velim MLA Filipe Neri is the other former Congress MLA who would be inducted into the cabinet, sources said.
BJP ally Goa Forward Party, which had all its three MLAs as ministers, including the deputy CM’s post that was held by its party president Vijai Sardesai, would be dropped along with Independent MLA and IT and revenue minister Rohan Khaunte.
Those who are not part of Wednesday’s split in Congress are four former CMs — Pratapsingh Rane, Digambar Kamat, Ravi Naik and Luizinho Faleiro — while Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco has also remained with the party.
There will be no bypolls as the 10 MLAs constitute two-thirds of the legislative wing as per the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
Goa MLAs in Delhi to meet Shah
All 10 former Congress MLAs left for Delhi late night to meet BJP president and Union home minister Amit Shah.
On March 28, BJP had split ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s legislature wing by inducting two of its members into the party and had dropped then deputy CM Ramkrishna Dhavalikar. Congress, which had emerged as the single largest party with 17 MLAs in the 2017 assembly polls, is now left with only five MLAs. BJP’s original strength in 2017 was 13. Speaker Rajesh Patnekar said the 10 Congress MLAs merged their group with BJP and Sawant gave him a letter of change in BJP’s strength in the assembly. “I have accepted both applications,” he said.
Sawant said the decision to take the Congress MLAs into BJP was to strengthen the party. “We want to provide good governance to people,” he said.



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