Ahead of the Goa Assembly session, Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Monday said he had not received any intimation about a ‘split’ in the state Congress Legislature Party.
On Sunday, out of the total 11 Congress MLAs in the state, five — Michael Lobo, Digambar Kamat, Kedar Naik, Rajesh Faldesai and Delialah Lobo — went incommunicado, a senior party leader earlier said. The Congress subsequently removed Lobo from the post of Leader of Opposition and said the new LoP will be named before the Assembly session.
Sources told CNN-News18 that the Goa Congress was due for a high-level meeting shortly, and that ‘action’ would be taken against former CM and MLA Digambar Kamat and LoP Michael Lobo soon.
Congress’s Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao on Sunday alleged that “Lobo and Kamat were hatching a conspiracy by hobnobbing with the BJP to engineer a split in the Congress”.
As on Monday morning, five of the Congress MLAs, in the 40-member Goa Assembly, were with the party, while five others remained out of reach. Another MLA Aleixo Sequeira was at home and pledged his support to the party.
A senior Congress leader said they had moved the five MLAs, who are with the party, to an undisclosed location to avoid further ‘split’ in the outfit.
On Monday, when reporters asked Tawadkar about a “split” in the Congress, the Speaker said, I have no intimation whatsoever. I was in my office on Sunday preparing for the monsoon session of the Assembly.”
He also replied in negative when asked if he was informed about the change of Leader of Opposition by the Congress Legislature Party.
Meanwhile, Kamat said he was ‘hurt’ by Rao’s comments. “I led the party from the front in 2022 but after elections I was humiliated as LoP was changed,” he said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday had asked senior party leader Mukul Wasnik to rush to Goa to “oversee latest political developments” in the state.
In a late night tweet, AICC general secretary, organization, K C Venugopal, said, “Congress President has asked Shri @MukulWasnik, MP to rush to Goa to oversee latest political developments in the state.”
The developments come amid speculation that some Congress MLAs may cross over to the saffron party. Exactly three years ago on this day, a group of 10 MLAs from the Congress had left the party and switched over to the BJP.
The development also comes close on the heels of the political turmoil in neighbouring Maharashtra, where the ruling Shiv Sena split following a rebellion by senior leader Eknath Shinde, who became the chief minister after Uddhav Thackeray resigned from the top post in the last week of June.