This took the BJP’s tally in the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly to 27
As many as 10 out of 15 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of the Indian National Congress in Goa broke away to merge with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on July 10.
The break-away faction also include the Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar. This took the BJP’s tally in the 40-member Legislative Assembly to 27. The strength of the ruling coalition jumped to 33.
The group of MLAs, led by Kavlekar, earlier met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar and submitted a letter, informing him about them breaking away from the legislative party.
The MLAs who switched sides include Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred DSa, Nilkant Halarnkar and Isidor Fernandes.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was present when the group arrived at the Assembly complex at around 7.30 pm on July 10. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo was also present.
CM Sawant told news agency ANI, "They (the MLAs) have come for the development of the state and their constituency. They have not put forward any condition and have joined the BJP unconditionally."
Congress had emerged as the single-largest party in the 2017 Assembly election, winning 17 seats. BJP had won 15. The BJP had formed the government with the support of smaller regional parties and independents.What about the anti-defection code?
The merger was done under Schedule 10 of the Constitution, Sawant informed. As the number of MLAs was two-third, the anti-defection law cannot be triggered.
Assembly composition: The party-wise position in the Assembly now stands at: BJP (27), Congress (5), Goa Forward Party (3), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (1), Nationalist Congress Party (1) and independents (3). The GFP and the three independents are supporting the coalition government.Cabinet reshuffle likely?
The development has triggered speculation that CM Sawant may drop some coalition members from his Cabinet.Former CM Manohar Parrikar’s son reacts
Son of late Manohar Parrikar, Utpal, said the saffron party has 'taken a different direction' after his father's demise.Not the first defectionIn Telangana, the Congress had witnessed a similar collapse in June when 12 of its 18 MLAs switched sides to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government is fighting to avoid a collapse in Karnataka. Many of their MLAs have resigned from the Assembly. The government could lose its majority if these resignations are accepted by the Assembly Speaker. A tense political battle is underway there.