Congress MP Manish Tewari posted a tweet saying on “erstwhile Portuguese Territory” on Wednesday, amid reports that eight Congress MLAs in Goa are planning to form a split group and merge with the ruling BJP. Eight Congress MLAs have gathered at the Goa Legislative Assembly, led by Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat, ahead of an expected move to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“A cuckoo bird is chiming Something is cooking in an erstwhile Portuguese Territory. Does not smell good…….! Hope the cuckoo bird is wrong…….” Tewari tweeted.
The MLAs met in the chamber of Leader of the Opposition Michael Lobo and passed a resolution to “merge” the Congress legislative party into the BJP. According to Michael Lobo, the MLAs have joined the BJP “to strengthen the hands of PM Modi and CM Pramod Sawant.”
“’Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo’,” he said.
In the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly, the Congress had 11 MLAs. The ruling BJP fell one seat short of a majority, but it was supported by three independent MLAs and two members of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).
The decision to switch sides comes despite the fact that all candidates for Congress have signed affidavits promising not to switch sides if elected. The oaths were administered in front of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, as well as a temple, church, and mosque.
This is not the first time Goa Congress MLAs have attempted to join the BJP following the 2022 state elections. However, an earlier attempt in July this year failed because the splinter group was unable to gather the required numbers to join the BJP without being disqualified under the anti-defection law.
During the previous Legislative Assembly term, 10 of the 15 Congress MLAs merged with the BJP, while 27 of the 40 MLAs were no longer affiliated with the party from which they were elected.