After eight Goa Congress MLAs joined the BJP on Wednesday (September 14), one of them has spoken about why they jumped ship.
Michael Lobo said they took the decision to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
A resolution was passed in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Wednesday to merge with the BJP, Lobo said.
Also read: BJP will have to pay for comments on Bharat Jodo Yatra: Gehlot
Just 3 MLAs in Opposition
The Opposition is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member state Assembly.
The eight MLAs – former chief minister Digambar Kamat, Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes – joined the BJP in presence of CM Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade.
In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs had switched over to the BJP in Goa. The BJP retained power in the coastal state after Assembly elections in March this year. It has 20 MLAs in the Assembly, while the Congress strength will be depleted from 11 to three.
. @INCIndia was undertaking a Bharat Jodo Yatra, but a Congress Chhodo Yatra is now beginning from Goa. I welcome all 8 MLAs to the BJP.
-Chief Minister @DrPramodPSawant pic.twitter.com/Y3ytpd5a4i
— BJP Goa (@BJP4Goa) September 14, 2022
Briefing media persons in the presence of Chief Minister Sawant, Lobo said the Congress Legislature Party met on Wednesday morning during which they decided to merge with the BJP.
“The decision was taken to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Goa CM Pramod Sawant,” he said.
Also read: Bharat Jodo Yatra’s success has rattled BJP, says Congress
“We have started Congress Chhodo Yatra from Goa,” he said.
Lobo said the resolution has been submitted to the state legislature secretary and the chief minister.
Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar has also been informed about the development, he said.
The Speaker is currently in New Delhi.
Digambar Kamat told reporters that he took the decision to join the BJP based on the circumstances.
“When I was not chosen as leader of Opposition by the party (after the Goa polls held earlier this year), I had expressed my displeasure. If you see the letter of Gulam Nabi Azad (who quit the Congress recently), you will be able to draw the conclusion,” Kamat said.
He said the country is witnessing development under PM Modi. Indians are being looked at with respect, Kamat added.
What Congress says
The crossing over of eight of its MLAs to the BJP is part of the ruling party’s ‘Operation Kichad’, the Congress said on Wednesday and claimed the “break” was fast-tracked because of the visible success of its Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“Operation Kichad of BJP in Goa has been fast tracked because of the visible success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. BJP is nervous,” Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.
“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,” he said.
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.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 14, 2022
His party colleague Pawan Khera echoed him and said the BJP, rattled by the Bharat Jodo Yatra, had organised Operation Kichad (mud) in the coastal state.
“Once again it has been proven that the BJP can only break,” the Congress communication department head said in a tweet in Hindi.
“Those who are not able to support this difficult journey of uniting India, fearing the threats of BJP, cross over to those who break… (they) should understand that India is watching,” he added.
आज भाजपा ने फिर साबित कर दिया कि वह सिर्फ़ तोड़ना जानती है। हमारी #भारत_जोड़ो_यात्रा से बौखलाई भाजपा ने गोवा में ऑपरेशन कीचड़ को अंजाम दिया। भारत देख रहा है।
वो तोड़ेंगे; हम जोड़ेंगे pic.twitter.com/S5SfF9JqUK
— Pawan Khera 🇮🇳 (@Pawankhera) September 14, 2022
(With Agency inputs)