Congress in Goa hides its 5 MLAs to avoid further 'split'
As of Monday morning, out of total of 11 Congress MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly, five were with the party, while five others were out of reach. Another MLA, Aleixo Sequeira, is at home and has pledged his support to the party. The MLAs will reach the assembly complex to take part in the session.
The Congress has moved five of its MLAs who are still within the party to an undisclosed location ahead of the Goa Assembly session beginning on Monday. The move comes hours after five other party legislators, including former Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo and former Chief Minister Digamber Kamat, went incommunicado.
As of Monday morning, out of a total of 11 Congress MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly, five were with the party, while five others were out of reach. Another MLA, Aleixo Sequeira, is at home and has pledged his support to the party.
According to a senior Congress leader, the five MLAs supporting the party have been to an undisclosed location to avoid further 'split'. The MLAs will reach the assembly complex to take part in the session.
Besides Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat, the other MLAs who have gone incommunicado are Delialah Lobo, Kedar Naik and Rajesh Faldesai. The Congress removed Lobo from the post of Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly for hobnobbing with the BJP.
The party's state desk in charge, Dinesh Gundu Rao, announced late Sunday evening that Lobo and Kamat were hatching a conspiracy by hobnobbing with the BJP to engineer a split in the Congress.
Earlier on Sunday: Goa Congress MLAs in touch with BJP, suggest reports; party denies
Therefore, the party removed Lobo from the post of Leader of Opposition. Action will be taken against both Lobo and Kamat, he said.
Rao had also said that if the five MLAs cross sides, they will have to face elections again as the group does not enjoy the two-thirds majority of the party's legislative wing (to escape action under the anti-defection law).
While none of the five 'rebel' MLAs was available for comments, sources in the BJP claimed the legislators were in touch with them. Talking to reporters on Sunday, Goa Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Pramod Sawant refused to comment on developments in the other party (Congress).
Asked if any of the Congress legislators had come to meet him, Sawant gave a cryptic response, saying, "Many MLAs come to meet me, especially because the Assembly is being convened from Monday."
Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi rushed senior party leader Mukul Wasnik to Goa to "oversee the latest political developments" in the state. The ruling BJP in Goa has 20 MLAs, and the Pramod Sawant government also enjoys the support of two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged two seats while Goa Foward Party (GFP) and Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) won one seat each.
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