A day after 10 of 15 Congress legislators in Goa broke away from the party and joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), chief minister Pramod Sawant rejected the Congress’ charge that the BJP had lured away the MLAs.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi on Thursday, Sawant said these MLAs had decided to join the development agenda the BJP government was implementing and for the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sawant took all 10 legislators to meet BJP president and Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP’s acting president J.P. Nadda. The chief minister also ruled out any immediate reshuffle of his cabinet to accommodate the new entrants.
“Today we have come to meet our party president Amit ji Shah and acting president J.P. Nadda ji. We will decide about the cabinet expansion after meeting our party president and acting president," Sawant told reporters. “They (the Congress MLAs) have seen the kind of national leadership our prime minister Narendra Modi ji is providing and the scale of development happening all over. They have come to the BJP for the development of the nation, for their state, and their constituencies."
Led by the former leader of the Opposition, Chandrakant Kavlekar, 10 Goa Congress legislators split from the party on and met Goa speaker Rajesh Patnekar, seeking merger with the BJP. The speaker promptly granted the merger and Sawant confirmed that they had joined the BJP. In the 40-member Goa assembly, the BJP’s strength has now jumped to 27. The BJP is also supported by three legislators of a regional outfit Goa Forward Party, one legislator of Maharashtravadi Gomantak Paksha (MGP), and two independents. Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said on Wednesday that the entire episode showed “BJP’s internal insecurities and utter misuse of power".