After the news that eight Congress MLAs, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo, were planning to join the Bharatiya Janata Party today, the Goa legislative assembly witnessed heightened activity on Wednesday. Given that the assembly is not in session, the meeting of the MLAs with the assembly is unusual.
The ruling BJP has 20 seats in the 40-member assembly, falling one shy of a majority. Three independents and two members of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party support the party.
Sadanand Shet Tanavade, the state BJP chairman, also provided PTI with confirmation of the occurrence.
While none of the MLAs were accessible for comment, it is thought that the eight have started the paperwork necessary to inform the Speaker—who is currently in Delhi and won’t be arriving in Goa until later today—of their “voluntary” decision.
A previous attempt by Congress MLAs in July of this year had failed because the breakaway group had not amassed the necessary number of members to transfer to the BJP, with five members refusing to join and two others wavering.
Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo have nevertheless persisted in their attempts to persuade the other MLAs in the weeks thereafter. After recently visiting Delhi, Lobo falsely stated upon his return to Goa that he had been there to participate in the Congress demonstration against inflation and price increases. He was absent, nevertheless, at the Delhi Congress protest. Kamat again rejected the rumours that he had visited Delhi, although a passenger list provided by a local news outlet indicated that Kamat had actually purchased a ticket to Delhi. It was unknown if Kamat had actually travelled.
Prior to this, the Congress filed a disqualification plea against both Kamat and Lobo, alleging that the two conspired with the BJP to split the Congress and unite with the latter. The Speaker has not yet ruled on the plea.