In a major setback and embarassment to Congress amid its Bharat Jodo Yatra, eight of its Goa MLAs joined the ruling BJP. Reacting to the defection of the eight MLAs, the Congress said and claimed the "break" was fast-tracked because of the visible success of its Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes including former chief minister Digambar Kamat joined the ruling BJP. The Congress is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly.
Here's how the Congress leaders reacted:
Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh in a tweet said, "Operation Kichad of BJP in Goa has been fast tracked because of the visible success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. BJP is nervous."
"A daily dose of diversion & disinformation is handed out to undermine the Yatra. We remain undeterred. We will overcome these dirty tricks of the BJP," he added.
While his party colleague Pawan Khera echoed him and said the BJP, rattled by the Bharat Jodo Yatra, had organised 'Operation Kichad (mud)' in the coastal state.
"Once again it has been proven that the BJP can only break," the Congress' communication department head said in a tweet in Hindi.
The eight MLAs joined the BJP in the presence of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade. In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs had switched over to the BJP in Goa.
The BJP retained power in the coastal state after sssembly elections in March this year. It has 20 MLAs in the Assembly, while the Congress' strength will be depleted from 11 to three.