10 Congress Goa MLAs formally join BJP

India News

New Delhi: A day after 10 Congress MLAs in Goa crossed over to the BJP, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday met BJP national president and Union home minister Amit Shah to deliberate over the likely reshuffle of his Cabinet.

The 10 MLAs later took the membership of BJP in presence of its working president, J.P. Nadda. Speculation is rife that Chandrakant Kavlekar, who was the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, could be given the post of deputy CM.

The possible reshuffle could see ministers of BJP allies and Independents getting dropped to accommodate the new members. With its numbers in the 40-member assembly swelling to 27, the BJP is no longer dependent on its allies, including Goa Forward party and Independents. Asserting that the Congress leaders decided to join the saffron party on their own and “unconditionally,” Mr Sawant rejected Congress’ accusation that the BJP indulged in “murder of democracy.”

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Mr Kavlekar, who was the leader of the opposition in the Assembly before he spearheaded a coup in his own party and joined the BJP along with nine other MLAs, told reporters that they wanted development work in their constituencies and it was not possible if they were in the Opposition. They want to push development work in the state, he said.

He also praised policies of the state and central governments, saying they had made a good impact.

Mr Kavlekar also cited the “struggle” in the Congress, an apparent hit at the party’s leadership crisis after its president Rahul Gandhi resigned following its rout in the Lok Sabha polls, and wondered how long they could have continued.

He also praised policies of the state and central governments, saying they had made a good impact.

After the 2017 Assembly polls, a hung assembly had emerged, with Congress winning 17 and BJP 13 seats. But the BJP outsmarted the Congress by cobbling together a coalition quickly.

With steady erosion from its ranks, the Congress’ strength is now only five.

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