In fast-paced developements, senior BJP MLA Manohar Azgaonkar on Monday resigned from the Assembly and the party and joined Congress to be immediately sworn in as minister.
His resignation comes less than a week of Town Planning Minister Antanasio Monserratte quitting the cabinet over the controversial Regional Plan 2011, leaving a vacant slot in the 12-member cabinet.
Azgaonkar, who represents Dhargal constituency, severed his six-year-long ties with BJP alleging a strong RSS influence on the party and supressing Bahujan Samaj representatives in the organisation.
With his resignation, the strength of BJP in the state assembly has come down to 14 and the 40-member House to 36. The Congress has 18 MLAs, the NCP two, MGP one and independent one. Two of the BJP MLAs stand disqualified.
Azgaonkar was accompanied by Monserratte, Congress MLA Aleixo Sequira, state Congress general secretary Vijay Sardesai, when he met the assembly Speaker Fransisco Sardinha this morning and submitted the resignation letter.
From there he arrived at Congress House Panaji, where Congress General Secretary Margaret Alva welcomed him into the party.
He was later sworn in as a minister in the Rane government by Governor SC Jamir in the presence of the Chief Minister.