On Monday midnight two Goa Congress legislators Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar left for Delhi amidst speculation that they may join the BJP. As per media reports, a senior BJP leader also confirmed that they were likely to meet BJP president Amit Shah in the national capital.
Infact Dayanand Sopte told reporters at the airport that he was going on a business trip similarly, when Shirodkar was asked whether he was joining the BJP, he responded,
“You will come to know, if I do it”.
Last night, Congress leader A Chellakumar told PTI that he had spoken to both the legislators who assured him that they were not quitting the party. This morning, that changed dramatically.
The ruling party BJP is trying its best to hold its coalition together in smallest state while Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar battles a pancreatic ailment.
“We are joining BJP today. We expect two-three more legislators to come, not today but in the coming days,” Subhash Shirodkar was quoted as telling news agency ANI after his meeting with the BJP president.
Pramod Sawant, Goa Assembly Speaker today confirmed that he had received resignations from both the Congress MLAs who said they were doing it willingly without any pressure.
I received resignation from 2 Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte & Subhash Shirodkar. They confirmed they're doing this willingly, without any pressure. I accepted the resignations. Process will be completed, copies will be sent to all members of House, Guv & EC: Goa Assembly speaker pic.twitter.com/dek9epbXcb
— ANI (@ANI) October 16, 2018
Sawant also said that the strength of Assembly stood now at 38 with BJP 14, Congress 14, MGP 3, Goa Forward 1 and NCP 1
Strength of the assembly now is 38. Party strength is BJP 14, Congress 14, MGP 3, Goa Forward 3, NCP 1, independent 3. We have informed EC, it is up to them as to when there should be a by-poll etc: Goa Assembly speaker Pramod Sawant pic.twitter.com/QoS64pmArk
— ANI (@ANI) October 16, 2018
However, Mr Chellakumar alleged that the two were intimidated by Amit Shah and poached by Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who is seen to be aiming for the Chief Minister’s post in case Manohar Parrikar steps down over his poor health.
“I got a message that Vishwajit Rane was the man who has convinced and taken them to Delhi and he has bargained with the BJP high command that if he got the two Congress MLAs, he should be made the Chief Minister,” Mr Chellakumar claimed.
Manohar Parrikar, the man known for expertly managing allies is ailing and appearing to be out of commission for now. Accusing the BJP of acting “power hungry” in Goa, the Congress on Saturday had demanded that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar step down and it be allowed to prove majority by convening a special session of the state assembly.
The resignation of the Congress lawmakers is also expected to blunt the Congress’ efforts to raise numbers to form a coalition government. The Congress now loses its strategic advantage as the single largest party as they have been reduced to 14 from 16.
On the other hand, ruling BJP, with 14 lawmakers now, enjoys the support of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party – both with three lawmakers each, three independent lawmakers and one legislator from the Nationalist Congress Party.