Goa Congress MLAs in touch with BJP, suggest reports; party denies
The Congress has denied any schism inside the party, with Goa unit chairman Amit Patkar stating such rumours were generated by the ruling BJP ahead of the assembly's two-week Budget Session, according to news agency PTI.
The Congress in Goa hurried on Sunday to quash rumours of a rift as less-than-full attendance was seen at a party gathering. Reports suggested that certain leaders were in contact with the ruling BJP a day before the assembly session. The Congress has denied any schism inside the party, with Goa unit chairman Amit Patkar stating such rumours were generated by the ruling BJP ahead of the assembly's two-week Budget Session, according to news agency PTI.
A meeting of Congress MLAs is underway today in a hotel in Panaji. "There are seven MLAs present (at the meeting). I wasn't summoned by high leadership; I was merely here for a courtesy meeting. What should be done about the rumours (about MLAs going for the BJP)? I can only speak for myself; I cannot speak for anyone else," Aleixo Sequeira, a Congress MLA, said the news agency ANI.
Notably, the Goa Congress desk in charge, Dinesh Gundu Rao, had a meeting on Saturday and refuted the report, calling it a "complete rumour." Dinesh Gundu Rao met with 11 party MLAs in a Panaji hotel yesterday.
According to reports, Digambar Kamat, the party's Chief Ministerial contender in the earlier this year elections, missed an MLA meeting on Saturday. Reports suggest even Lobo, who went from the BJP to the Congress just before the elections, is still in contact with his old party.
Speculation that certain Congress MLAs may join the BJP has been circulating since BJP national general secretary and state in-charge C T Ravi stated in May that the BJP, which now has 20 MLAs and established the government with the assistance of five others, will have 30 MLAs by the end of the year.
The panchayat elections are scheduled for August 10, and the code of conduct will go into effect on July 20. The Congress appealed the Goa Assembly speaker on July 4 not to postpone the monsoon session, which was slated to begin on July 11, citing the BJP-led state government's use of panchayat elections as a pretext.
The ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 25 lawmakers in Goa's 40-member house, while the opposition Congress has 11. The last time the Congress split was in 2019, when majority of its MLAs defected to the BJP, leaving the party with only four former Chief Ministers.