Panaji: Eight Goa Congress MLAs including former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa on Wednesday.
All the eight MLAs Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes joined BJP after meeting Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the Assembly complex in the day.
"We have merged with BJP with a majority of 2/3rd to strengthen the hands of PM Modi and CM Pramod Sawant... 'Congress Chhodo, BJP ko Jodo', said former Congress MLA Michael Lobo.
Meanwhile, Goa CM Sawant also took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra and said that "Congress Chhodo Yatra will begin from Goa now" while welcoming the leaders.
The BJP already holds a majority of 25 in the House of 40 of which its own 20 MLAs with two others from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three independent leaders.
After the joining of eight Congress MLAs, its count will rise to 33.
The development came amid Congress leader Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra to combat the BJP-led Centre and awaken the country's people to the dangers of economic inequalities, social polarisation, and political centralization.
The Yatra includes Padayatras, rallies, and public meetings which will be attended by the senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Days ago on September 4, Gujarat Youth Congress President Vishwanathsinh Vaghela resigned from his post which is considered to be a major jolt for the party.
On September 2, party leader Rajinder Prasad, who is also the son of late Master Beli Ram Sharma from Nowshera, Rajouri, resigned from all posts and the primary membership of the party. Prasad blamed the 'coterie' system for being a reason for the 'demise' of the party.
In recent months, Rajinder Prasad and several high-profile leaders have quit Congress. The exit of veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress, months before the upcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, as well as the general elections in two years' time, dealt a huge blow to party.
Jaiveer Shergill, who is a lawyer by profession and was one of the prominent ones among young Congress leaders, on August 24, tendered his resignation claiming that the vision of the decision-makers no longer was in sync with the aspirations of the youth.
Earlier this year in May, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, a prominent face of the G-23 group of dissenting leaders, resigned from the party and filed nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections as an independent candidate backed by the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar too parted ways with the Congress in May this year.
Former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in February also resigned from Congress after a long association of 46 years with the party.
Back in May, Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel had quit the party after he felt that he was being "ignored"....