Political instability in Karnataka spilled over into neighbouring Goa on Wednesday, with two-thirds (10 out of 15) of the Congress MLAs breaking away to merge with the ruling BJP.
The group, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the evening and gave him a letter, informing him about their breaking away.
The MLAs include Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred D’Sa and Nilkant Halarnkar.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who was present when the group arrived at the Assembly, said the 10 MLAs had merged with the BJP.
With the 10 MLAs changing sides, the strength of the Congress in the House will be down to just five MLAs.
The BJP’s strength in the Assembly has now gone up to 27. The Goa Forward Party has three MLAs while the NCP and MGP have one each. There are three Independents.
To a question, Mr. Sawant said no new inductions in the Cabinet were on cards.
Mr. Kavlekar said he and other MLAs decided to join the BJP as development works in their constituencies were suffering as they were in opposition.
“We have seen Sawant’s working style. He is working for the progress of the State. We decided to join hands with him. Being in opposition, our development works were also suffering,” he said. The MLAs joined the BJP unconditionally, he claimed.