New Delhi: In a major setback to the Congress that was aspiring to replace the Parrikar-led BJP government in Goa, two of its MLAs resigned and joined the ruling party on Tuesday.
With this, the Congress lost its bragging rights to be the single largest party in the Assembly, as its strength dropped to 14, which is the BJP’s individual strength as well. The BJP has the support of 23 in the 40-member Assembly.
Congress defectors Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar met BJP chief Amit Shah after joining the party. The BJP is expected to field them from Mandrem and Shiroda, the seats they vacated, in the forthcoming bypolls.
Goa has of late been witnessing a flurry of political activity following the ill-health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, with the Congress trying to stake its claim to form the new government. The defection is believed to have been engineered by Vishwajit Rane, a minister in Parrikar’s team, who had himself defected from the Congress after the 2017 Goa Assembly polls.