Goa Congress Averts Split for the Time Being, 10 MLAs Attend Party Meeting

Ten out of the total 11 Congress MLAs in Goa attended a meeting chaired by senior leader Mukul Wasnik in Panaji as the party managed to avert a split in its fold for the time being. Except former chief minister Digambar Kamat, all the other Congress MLAs, including Michael Lobo, were on Monday night present in the meeting which went on for over two hours at the state party headquarters. Congress Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao and state party president Amit Patkar were also present during the meeting.

Wasnik claimed some people with bad intentions were trying to create a rift in the Goa Congress, but the legislators scuttled it by showing they are united. He said during the meeting, discussions were held with the MLAs on how to work aggressively in the House and strengthen the party in the coastal state.

On Sunday, five Congress MLAs, including Kamat and Lobo, went incommunicado. They, however, attended the Goa Assembly proceedings on the first day of its monsoon session on Monday and claimed there was nothing wrong and that they were with the party. The Congress had accused Lobo and Kamat of “conspiring and hobnobbing” with the ruling BJP to engineer a split in the grand old party’s legislative wing.

The party also removed Lobo from the post of leader of opposition in the 40-member Assembly. After some of the Congress Legislature Party members did not attend a press conference called by Rao on Sunday, Patkar filed a disqualification petition against Kamat and Lobo before Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Monday.

Asked if the disqualification petition would be withdrawn, Wasnik said, “You don’t ask all questions now, let us keep something for later. After the meeting on Monday night, Lobo told reporters that he was with the Congress and there was a misunderstanding by the party as he could not attend the press conference called on Sunday.

All the Congress MLAs are with the party. I had told them that I didn’t want to continue as the leader of opposition because I would not be able to do justice to the post, he said. Senior leaders like Digambar Kamat or Sankalp Amonkar can be elected as the LoP in the Assembly, he added.

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