10 Goa MLAs split from Congress to merge with BJP

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Mumbai: Even as the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition struggles to save its rickety government in Karnataka, a political quake jolted the Congress party in neighbouring Goa on Wednesday when 10 of its 15 legislators broke away and merged with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The setback was all the more embarrassing for the Congress as the breakaway group includes the leader of the opposition Babu Kavlekar and Babush Monserrate who only in May won the prestigious Panaji assembly seat, which former Goa chief minister late Manohar Parrikar held for years. One of the ten MLAs told Mint on the phone that they merged with the BJP due to the “leadership vacuum in the Congress party at the top” since the Lok Sabha election results. “It was weighing on the minds of a large number of Congress legislators who today have decided to go with the BJP,” said this legislator did not wish to be named. Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant told reporters that all ten Congress legislators had merged with the BJP and the BJP’s strength in the house had gone up to 27. “They have joined the BJP for development and progress of Goa,” Sawant said.

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