Goa Congress Sacks Michael Lobo as Leader of Opposition Amid Defection Buzz

The Goa Congress on Sunday dismissed Michael Lobo as the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly for allegedly trying to engineer defections. At a press conference, AICC Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said that a “conspiracy was hatched by some of our own leaders with the BJP” to weaken the Congress and “engineer defections.”
“This conspiracy was led by two of our own leaders — LoP Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat.”

Kamat is the former chief minister of Goa.

Rao, who earlier in the day dismissed talks of defection as rumour, accused both Kamat and Lobo of “working in total coordination with BJP.”

“Both these people had been working in total coordination with BJP. One person — Digambar Kamat — did it to safeguard his own skin because so many cases are against him and the other person — Michael Lobo — for the sake of power and position. BJP wants to finish the opposition,” Rao said.

Further alleging that BJP was trying for a two-third split to see that a minimum eight of Congress MLAs leave, Rao said, “Many of our people have been offered huge amounts of money. I’m shocked at the amount offered. But our six MLAs stood firm, I’m proud of them.”

There are currently 11 MLAs in Congress and there was speculation that a few of them might switch over to the ruling BJP.

These speculations began doing the rounds since BJP national general secretary and the party’s state in-charge, C T Ravi, had said back in May that the BJP, which has 20 MLAs and formed the government with the support of five others, will have 30 MLAs by the end of the year.

In order to evade the anti-defection law, eight MLAs need to leave Congress.

The Congress on July 4 had asked the Goa Assembly speaker not to curtail the monsoon session scheduled to begin on July 11 as it was a possibility with the BJP- government in the state giving the excuse of panchayat polls.

The turmoil in Congress comes ahead of the panchayat elections, scheduled to be held on August 10. The model code of conduct will come into force on July 20.

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