Goa CM Pramod Sawant.

Goa CM Pramod Sawant.

With Karnataka in crisis, Congress implodes in Goa; 10 MLAs quit, join BJP

Congress-mukt Goa! From being single largest party Congress left with 5

Agency Report | Panaji | 10 July, 2019 | 10:40 PM

As it fights for survival in Karnataka, the Congress has imploded in neighbouring Goa. Ten out of 15 Congress lawmakers have split from the party in Goa and have merged with the ruling BJP. "10 Congress MLAs, along with their Opposition Leader, have merged with the BJP. The strength of the BJP has now risen to 27. They had come for development of the state and their constituency. They have not put forward any condition, they have joined BJP unconditionally," Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant was quoted as saying. The Congress is left with only five lawmakers in the seaside state where the party had emerged the single largest party in 2017. Since two-thirds of the lawmakers have split, they do not have to quit the assembly.

Ten Congress MLAs out of 15 have split from the Congress and are going to merge with the BJP later tonight, Congress MLA Isidore Fernandes told reporters on Wednesday.

“10 Congress MLAs are splitting from the Congress and joining the BJP tonight,” Fernandes said.

The lawmakers who broke away are Babu Kavalekar, Babush Monserratte, his wife Jennifer Monserrate, Tony Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Clafasio, Wilfred De Sa, Nilkant Halankar and Isidore Fernandes. As they met the Speaker, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was present. The BJP now has 17 lawmakers in the 40-member assembly.

Last month, the Congress suffered a similar collapse in Telangana, where 12 of its 18 lawmakers crossed over to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s party.

The Goa crisis has emerged as the Congress fights for survival in Karnataka, where its coalition with the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) is dangerously close to collapse after 18 exits. If the resignations are accepted – the Speaker has rejected many of them as invalid – the balance will shift from the Congress-JDS to the BJP, which had last year fallen just short of the majority mark. (IANS)