Panaji: At least eight Congress MLAs from Goa joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in a major setback to the grand old party.
Eight Congress MLAs including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, leader of opposition Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes reached Goa Legislative Assembly to join the party.
In the 40-member Goa Assembly, the Congress has 11 legislators and the BJP has 20. In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs had switched over to the BJP. After holding a meeting with Congress Legislature Party, Lobo told ANI that they “will join BJP”, however no official confirmation from the Sawant has come forward yet.
The development came amid the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is being held to combat the BJP-led Centre and awaken the country’s people to the dangers of economic inequalities, social polarisation, and political centralization.
The Yatra includes Padayatras, rallies, and public meetings which will be attended by the senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Days ago on September 4, Gujarat Youth Congress President Vishwanathsinh Vaghela resigned from his post which is considered to be a major jolt for the party.
On September 2, party leader Rajinder Prasad, who is also the son of late Master Beli Ram Sharma from Nowshera, Rajouri, resigned from all posts and the primary membership of the party. Prasad blamed the ‘coterie’ system for being a reason for the ‘demise’ of the party.
In recent months, Rajinder Prasad and several high-profile leaders have quit Congress. The exit of veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress, months before the upcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, as well as the general elections in two years’ time, dealt a huge blow to party.
Jaiveer Shergill, who is a lawyer by profession and was one of the prominent ones among young Congress leaders, on August 24, tendered his resignation claiming that the vision of the decision-makers no longer was in sync with the aspirations of the youth.
Earlier this year in May, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, a prominent face of the G-23 group of dissenting leaders, resigned from the party and filed nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections as an independent candidate backed by the Samajwadi Party (SP). Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar too parted ways with the Congress in May this year.
Former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in February also resigned from Congress after a long association of 46 years with the party. Back in May, Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel had quit the party after he felt that he was being “ignored”.
(With ANI and PTI Inputs)