In a sudden turn of events, Goa witnessed another bout of political musical chairs as eight of the 11 Congress MLAs — two-thirds of the party’s strength in the Assembly — moved to the BJP in a replay of the defections in 2019, when 10 MLAs jumped ship.
The Congress said the crossing over of eight of its lawmakers, including former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, to the BJP was part of the ruling party’s ‘Operation Kichad (mud)‘, which the party said was fast tracked to divert attention from the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The move came just months after all 37 Congress candidates took loyalty pledges in the run up to the February Assembly election in the presence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, vowing not to defect to other parties regardless of the poll result.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, meanwhile, said all eight Congressmen joined the BJP “unconditionally”. The CM claimed that what had started in Goa would be soon seen across the country as Congress leaders will leave their party en masse to join the BJP.
The BJP, which had 20 MLAs in the 40-seat Assembly, has now increased its strength to 28, while the ruling coalition now has the support of 33 MLAs, including two of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independents. The Opposition has been reduced to just seven MLAs — three of the Congress, one from the Goa Forward Party, two from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and one from the Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP).
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