2 Congress MLAs resign from Goa Assembly

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Panaji, Oct 16 (IANS) Two Congress MLAs from Goa who left for Delhi late on Monday, met BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday and soon after resigned from the state assembly, an official said.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader A. Chellakumar had accused the BJP of poaching the two legislators — Subhash Shirodkar, a former minister and Dayanand Sopte — who had set out for the national capital to meet Shah.

Shirodkar and Sopte faxed their resignations to Goa Speaker Pramod Sawant, the Speaker’s office said.

Congress Secretary in-charge for Goa Chellakumar said the two were intimidated by Shah and poached by Health Minister in the BJP-led coalition government Vishwajit Rane, who is angling for the Chief Minister’s post, in case Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar steps down owing to his health condition.

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“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.

“On that note, money power and official machinery, they have taken these two MLAs,” Chellakumar told reporters.

The Congress official also alleged that the Congress MLAs were a victim of “fear psychosis” due to constant threats from the BJP.

Rane said that Chellakumar’s statements reeked of “frustration” as the Congress was bleeding MLAs. Rane, himself a former Congressman had joined the BJP in 2017.

The latest spell of political instability in Goan politics has been triggered by an ailing Parrikar, with coalition allies beginning to clamour for meaty portfolios and the BJP readying alternatives to the former Defence Minister, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer.

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Sopte and Shirodkar’s resignations was likely to blunt Congress’ efforts to cobble numbers together for an alternate coalition formation to power.

The resignations also dulled the Congress’ strategic advantage as the single largest party in the 38-member Goa Legislative Assembly, bringing its legislative strength at par with the BJP’s 14.

The incumbent BJP-led coalition government has 14 BJP MLAs, supported by three MLAs each from the Goa Forward, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, three Independent MLAs and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao.

–IANS

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