Goa: Eight BJP defectors to meet PM in Delhi today

BJP State president Sadanand Shet Tanavade will chaperone the eight MLAs who last week split from the Congress

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Monday, September 19, 2022, 03:43 PM IST
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Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo are already out of station and are expected to join the group in Delhi | File Pic

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and the BJP State president Sadanand Shet Tanavade will chaperone the eight MLAs who last week split from the Congress and 'merged' with the BJP at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Monday morning.

Speaking to reporters at the Dabolim airport, Sawant informed that it was a routine visit to Delhi with the MLAs who were new to the party.

"The MLAs are new to the party and we are taking them to Delhi to get them familiarised. We have taken an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah", Sawant said.

Earlier in the day, Sawant told media that he and Tanavade would accompany the eight new entrants to Delhi for the specific purpose of meeting Modi.

The chief minister said, six of the eight MLAs will leave by a Sunday night flight for the national capital. 

Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo are already out of station and are expected to join the group in Delhi, Sawant said after attending a Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS) meeting held annually to coordinate with the party in the capital city.

The chief minister however, did not elaborate on the purpose of the meeting with Modi but the question of a Cabinet reshuffle, which usually is a corollary of a defection into the ruling party, is likely to come up in the discussions.

The group of eight Congress MLAs -- Aleixo Sequeira, Kedar Naik, Rajesh Phaldesai, Sankalp Amonkar, Rudolf Fernandes and Delilah Lobo -- besides Kamat and Lobo, split and merged with the Congress on Wednesday night.

The split and 'merger' was formally endorsed by Goa Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Thursday and the Legislature Secretary issued a bulletin stating that the sitting arrangement had been changed to make the group part of the BJP.

With the development, the strength of the Sawant-led coalition government in the 40 member House has gone up to 33 -- 28 of the BJP, two of the MGP and three Independents.

It has also decimated the numbers in the Opposition benches to seven. Congress still continues to be the largest in the block with a strength of three, followed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with two and one each of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP).

Meanwhile, Sawant said, that while in Delhi they will also meet party president, J P Nadda.

"We will return to Goa day after tomorrow,” he said and ducked questions on whether the issue of Cabinet reshuffle will be brought up in the Delhi meetings.

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