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Joining BJP Today, Say 2 Goa Congress MLAs as Amit Shah Staves off Challenge to Manohar Parrikar Govt

Subhash Shirodkar, one of the MLAs making the switch, said 2-3 more Congress legislators will join the BJP in the next few days.

Updated:October 16, 2018, 2:13 PM IST
New Delhi: Two Goa Congress legislators, Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar, said they would join the BJP on Monday after meeting party chief Amit Shah in the capital.

By poaching the two lawmakers, the BJP it seems has managed to stave off the Congress challenge to its government in the tiny seaside state while chief minister Manohar Parrikar battles a pancreatic ailment.

“We are joining BJP today. We expect 2-3 more MLAs to come, not today but in the coming days,” Shirodkar said after his meeting with Shah. The two legislators have submitted their resignations as members of the state Assembly, Speaker Pramod Sawant said.

While Sopte, who defeated former BJP chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar in 2017 state legislative assembly election, represents Mandrem constituency, Shirodkar was elected on a Congress ticket from Shiroda constituency.

Both the legislators had left for Delhi on Sunday night. Goa health minister and BJP MLA Vishwajit Rane also left for Delhi, a little before their departure.

To reporters at the airport last night, Sopte had denied there will be any political manoeuvres and claimed he was going to Delhi on a business trip.

His colleague was also cryptic when asked whether he was joining the BJP: "You will come to know if I do it".

Congress leader A Chellakumar, when asked, had said he had spoken to both the legislators who assured him that they were not quitting the party.

On Monday morning, things changed dramatically.

Goa is currently witnessing hectic political activities with Congress party petitioning President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking his intervention to ask Goa Governor Mridula Sinha to call them to form the government. BJP state core committee and party's legislature party also met in Panaji on Sunday.

The meetings are happening at the backdrop of poor health condition of Parrikar, who is currently being treated by doctors from state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital at his residence at Dona Paula.

The two departures from Congress would hurt its challenge as it currently has 16 MLAs in the Goa Legislative Assembly but their strength would be reduced to 14 once the two legislators resign officially. It also has the support of an NCP legislator. The halfway mark in the state is 20.

BJP will have 16 MLAs once the two join, while its coalition government in the state also has three each from Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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