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10 Congress MLAs offered to join the BJP: Goa BJP president

After by-polls in the four assembly elections, the BJP has 17 legislators and the Congress 15 in the 40 member Goa assembly

india Updated: Jun 12, 2019 18:15 IST
Gerard de Souza
Gerard de Souza
Hindustan Times, Panaji
Desertions in Goa Congress,Telangana Congress,Congress weakening
Tendulkar, however, did not name the Congress MLAs who approached the BJP.(Vinay Tendulkar/Twitter)

10 law-makers of opposition Congress approached us offering to merge their faction, state BJP president, Vinay Tendulkar, claimed on Wednesday.

After by-polls, the BJP has 17 MLAs and the Congress 15 in the 40 member Goa assembly. The BJP is also supported by three Goa Forward Party’s MLAs and three independents. NCP and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) have one MLA each.

The offer by 10 Congress Mlas was shot down by the party’s leadership since, party and its allies already have the numbers in the Goa assembly, said BJP state president. He also rejected the Congress’ allegation that the Congress MLAs were lured with a “three-tier package deal”.

“From our side we do not want to destabilise any other party. Our strength of 23 can run the government…It was recently, when these legislators again made the offer of merger. But, our central leadership rejected the proposal,” he said.

Tendulkar, however, did not name the Congress MLAs who approached the BJP.

Senior Congress leaders, however, claim that BJP allies were working behind the scenes, encouraging a section of Congress MLAs to float a separate faction to earn more bargaining power in the assembly.

“This group was goaded on by the ruling government’s allies as a move to upset loyal BJP members and encourage disgruntlement within the BJP,” one of the Congress leaders, said. The plan fizzled out as some legislators saw no tangible benefits, he added.

The state Congress has given no official response to the ‘switch’ claims by the BJP but state party president Girish Chodankar had earlier confessed that preventing Congress MLAs from joining the BJP was ‘very difficult’ given the kind of pressure being exerted.

“With the way, BJP at national level is moving with their might, they are abusing power, they are trying to destroy an important institution in democratic set up which is the opposition party, it is difficult for MLAs to sustain such pressure,” Chodankar had said.

Clearly mentioning “money and (investigating) agency pressure,” Chodankar had alleged that ministerial posts with up to Rs. 40 crore over along with election expenses were offered to Congress MLAs.

Tendulkar rejected the claims as ‘Congress desperation’. “We have no intention of luring MLAs from other parties. …the Congress will not come to power for the next 25 years that belong to the BJP, both in the state and in the Centre,” he said.

Last week, 12 legislators of the Congress had merged their faction with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti of K Chandrashekar Rao in Telangana, reducing the party’s strength in the Telangana assembly to 6.

First Published: Jun 12, 2019 18:08 IST