Panaji, July 11 (IANS) Despite getting a tip off about its lawmakers switching sides to the ruling BJP, the Congress failed to take any corrective measures and prevent its MLAs from doing so.
Congress Secretary and Goa in-charge A. Chellakumar told IANS: “We were getting the news that the BJP was trying to lure our MLAs with money and other offers for several months. I was told that they came with an offer of Rs 10-15 crore, and it was going on continuously for a long period of time.”
His remarks came a day after 10 of the 17 Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, quit the party and defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Chellakumar said that he had spoken to Kavlekar two days back about the news of party MLAs switching their sides, who described it as “rumours”.
An MP from Tamil Nadu, Chellakumar rushed to Goa late on Wednesday to control the situation in the state.
The Congress’ five MLAs, four of them being former Chief Ministers, are left with the onerous task of cornering the Pramod Sawant-led coalition government when the monsoon session of the 40-member Legislative Assembly begins on July 15.
Since the 2017 state Assembly elections, 13 Congress MLAs have switched over to the BJP, whose strength has increased from 13 to 27.
Chellakumar accused the BJP of pressurizing the rebel MLAs to join the saffron party, described the poaching as “murder of democracy”.
“The BJP does not want any opposition parties in the country, they don’t have trust in the democracy and they are only playing the politics with money,” he said.
Asked how the Congress will revive in the state, Chellakumar said: “Number is not a matter. It is people’s support. Those who want secular fabric and have trust in democracy will support us.”