Congress Averts Goa Crisis For Now, But Possible Defectors In Touch With BJP, Says Sources

Goa Congress

Mr. Kamat and Mr. Lobo under the anti-defection law. Mr. Lobo has also been removed as leader of opposition.

Panjim: The Congress appears to have delayed a Maharshtra-like revolt in Goa for now, but sources say possible defectors are in touch with the state’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, a sign that the possibility still exists.

A minimum of eight out of the 11 Congress MLAs need to switch sides for the BJP’s plan to succeed. Sources say that plan is on track and former Chief Minister of the state Digambar Kamat is in touch with the saffron party to achieve the mission.

Sources from Congress claim the BJP had a chartered flight ready to move six of its MLAs out of the state. A senior BJP leader was personally in touch with the MLAs, who were offered ₹ 15 crores to ₹ 20 crores each to switch, sources said. The plan was reportedly stalled when the number of MLAs fell short.

Digambar Kamat, accused by the Congress of trying to engineer a rebellion, significantly skipped a meeting called by senior party leaders Mukul Wasnik and Dinesh Gundu Rao last evening. The other 10 Congress MLAs were present at the meeting.

The rebellion may have been aborted for now, but the grand old party says it will not drop its guard and has a few MLAs on “defection watch.

One of them is Michael Lobo, who surfaced yesterday – he was incommunicado on Sunday – to insist he is with the Congress and that outsiders are targeting him.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant emphatically denied any role in the apparent Congress turmoil.

“The BJP has nothing to do with the current crisis in Congress,” Mr. Sawant was quoted saying by NDTV.

The Congress yesterday assured there was “nothing wrong” in the party and it was the BJP that was trying to split its Goa unit.

The Congress accused Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat of “conspiring” with the BJP to cause defections. The party has requested the assembly Speaker to disqualify Mr. Kamat and Mr. Lobo under the anti-defection law. Mr. Lobo has also been removed as leader of opposition.

Mr. Kamat was Congress’s face in the state and also its  Chief Ministerial candidate in the Goa election earlier this year. But after Congress lost, he was upset at losing out on the post of Leader of Opposition.

Congress went into crisis mode on Sunday when five of its MLAs went “incognito”. They appeared on Monday for the assembly Session, insisting they had gone to south Goa for a meeting. If sources are to believe the five MLAs led by Digambar Kamat had met with the Goa Chief Minister on Sunday.

Congress interim  President Sonia Gandhi asked senior party leader Mukul Wasnik to Goa to control the political crisis in the state.






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