In a massive setback to the Congress, 10 out of its 15 MLAs merged with the BJP in Goa, announced Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday. The news came at a time when several Congress MPs resigned as MLAs in Karnataka.
The group, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavalekar, met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the evening and gave him a letter, informing him about their breaking away from the party. The MLAs include Francisco Silveira, Clafasio Dias, Wilfred Dsa, Francisco Silveira, Antonio Fernandes, Jennifer Monserrate, Atanasio Monserrate, Nilkanth Halarnkar and Filipe Nery Rodrigues.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was present when group arrived at the Assembly complex around 7.30 pm. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo was also present. With 10 MLAs changing sides, the strength of Congress in the House would be reduced to five.
The BJP is the single largest party with 17, the Goa Forward Parrty and Independents have three each, while one MLA each is from NCP and MGP. When asked, Kavlekar refused to give reason behind their move, but said that they will make a statement later in the evening. Sawant was sworn in as CM in March this year, after the death of then CM Manohar Parrikar.
(With PTI inputs)