The Congress, which had emerged as the single-largest party in the 2017 Goa election with 17 MLAs, three short of the halfway mark, is today left with a rump of four legislators in the assembly.
And the party could lose another MLA soon: Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, who represents the Curtorim constituency, could join the Aam Aadmi Party, according to sources.
Goa is set to go to polls in February 2022. The AAP has been aggressively campaigning in the state for about a year. The Trinamool Congress has also entered Goa as the party tries to extend its footprint beyond West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee’s party last week poached Luizinho Faleiro, the former chief Minister of Goa, soon after he quit the Congress.
On September 30, in a social media post about the work carried out in his constituency, Lourenco wrote: “Our work goes on, no politics matter, nor being sidelined by my party matters. Our people and our duty first. God’s blessings with us fully and we will take right decisions at the right time as dirty few leaders destroyed our progress… now time for good decisions no personal agenda but giving my people better productivity will be our motto [sic].”
Despite being the single largest party after the 2017 election, the Congress failed to form a government in Goa. The BJP, which had 13 seats, cobbled together an alliance with regional outfits Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party to form government.
Last Monday, Faleiro told journalists that in 2017 he had the support of 21 MLAs to form a Congress-led government, but the AICC in-charges of party affairs in the state had stopped him from staking claim.
“The rest is history. I was pained. I was shattered. The next day when we lost the government, they told me you are selected as CLP [Congress Legislative Party] leader. I told them I will not accept as people are angry. They have given us a mandate and we have failed to fulfil this mandate,” Faleiro said.
In October 2018, two Congress MLAs, Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, quit the Congress and joined the BJP. In July 2019, 10 more legislators, including the then leader of opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, did the same, reducing the Congress’ tally to five.
Last week’s defection of the former CM has left Congress with just four MLAs in the assembly, months before the 2022 election.