In a major political development on Wednesday evening, 10
of the 15 Congress MLAs – comprising two-third majority – merged their party’s
legislative wing into the Bharatiya Janata Party, which now has a total
strength of 27 legislators in the 40-member state legislative assembly.
The legislators led by former leader of the opposition
Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar and including Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate,
Jennifer Monserrate, Isidore Fernandes, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Nilkanth
Haldankar, Clafasio Dias, Antonio Fernandes, Wilfred D’Sa and Francisco
Silveira handed over a letter to merge the two-third Congress legislature party
into the BJP to Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the presence of Chief Minister
Pramod Sawant and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo.
The Congress party is now left with only five MLAs namely
Pratapsing Rane, Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and
“This merger was necessary to strengthen the government
and to protect Goenkarponn in true sense. During the last three months, as the
Chief Minister, I learnt that the common man was suffering and facing
difficulties. This is to eliminate the sufferings of the common man. This
government is of Goans and for Goemkarponn,” said Sawant while interacting with
media persons at the Secretariat in Porvorim.
The Chief Minister said that the merger has taken place
after obtaining consent of the BJP central leadership.
He said that BJP is yet to take any decision on reshuffle
in the cabinet. When questioned about the status of BJP’s coalition with Goa
Forward Party (GFP), he refused to speak and said that all the decisions will
be taken on Thursday by the party leadership.
Taking a jibe at Deputy Chief Minister and GFP president
Vijai Sardesai by
way of an indirect reference, Sawant said, “In the last
three months when I took charge of the administration I learnt that common
person was facing a lot of hardship, hence we had to take this decision (merger
of CLP with BJP).”
Chandrakant Kavlekar said that all ten Congress MLAs
joined BJP for the sake of development of their respective constituencies. “We
have been in opposition for quite some time now and it was not possible to
continue to remain in opposition, as people in our constituencies were
suffering due to lack of development,” he said. He also praised Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and Sawant for their ‘commendable’ work in the country and state.
When questioned whether he and the other nine MLAs have
been offered ministerial berths, Kavlekar kept mum and said that development of
the constituencies would be the top priority.
Incidentally, state organisational secretary of BJP
Satish Dhond had told the BJP workers from Tiswadi taluka on July 4 that ten
Congress MLAs were desperate to join BJP.
Source:: The Navhind Times