Sonia Gandhi rushes Mukul Wasnik to Goa amid defections in Congress
Concerned over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conspiring to engineer defection in the party as five party MLAs go incommunicado, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has asked party MP Mukul Wasnik to rush to the coastal state to oversee the latest political developments.
Congress leader KC Venugopal tweeted, "Congress President Sonia Gandhi has asked MP Mukul Wasnik to rush to Goa to oversee the latest political developments in the state."
Congress on Sunday also sacked Michael Lobo as the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly for alleged conspiracy to engineer defections.
Congress said that the BJP was trying for a 2/3rd split and offered huge amounts of money to party legislators.
Congress alleged that Lobo along with Digambar Kamat hatched a conspiracy to engineer defections in "total coordination" with the BJP.
"BJP was trying for a 2/3rd split, to see that a minimum of 8 of our MLAs leave. Many of our people have been offered huge amounts of money. I'm shocked at the amount offered. But our 6 MLAs stood firm, I'm proud of them," said Dinesh Gundu Rao, Congress Goa in charge in a press conference on Sunday.
Rao said that a conspiracy was hatched by some of our own leaders with the BJP to see that the Congress party in Goa is weakened and to engineer defections.
"This conspiracy was led by two of our own leaders, Leaders of Opposition Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat. 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 Opposition," he said.
Rao said that a new leader will be elected for the post of Leader of Opposition.
"A new leader will be elected. Whatever action has to be taken by law against this kind of defection, anti-party work will follow. Let's see how many people will stay/move. Five of our MLAs are here, we are in touch with some more MLAs and they'll be along with us," he said.
Rao asserted that the Congress party will not be disheartened or weakened.
"We will take up this issue in a more aggressive manner. We will inform the people that this betrayal is being engineered by two people for the sake of power and personal gain," he added.
Amid rumours that some Congress MLAs may cross over to the ruling BJP, Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly, Ramesh Tawadkar on Sunday cancelled the notification announcing elections for the post of Deputy Speaker.
Earlier on Sunday, Congress MLA and wife of Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo was seen leaving the residence of CM and BJP leader Pramod Sawant.
On being asked if Congress MLAs came to meet him, Goa CM Pramod Sawant said, "As CM, many people come to meet me. Tomorrow is Assembly, people came to meet me regarding that. I am busy with my Assembly work... Why will I comment on issues related to other parties?"
The order withdrawing notification of election for the post of Deputy Speaker was withdrawn on Sunday morning. The election was scheduled to be held on July 12 during the upcoming monsoon Assembly session.
Legislature Secretary Namrata Ulman has said that the notification issued on July 8 under Rule 308 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Goa Legislative Assembly stands withdrawn.
"Hence the notice of nomination for election of deputy speaker issued under 9(2) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Goa Legislative Assembly stands withdrawn also," the order reads.
"All the members may note the same. No nomination shall be accepted for the aforesaid Election," it adds.
The two-week-long Assembly session will begin on Monday.
The withdrawal comes amidst rife rumours claiming that a group of Congress MLAs may split to join the BJP. There was no formal confirmation even as the Congress MLAs held a series of meetings in the Margao town on Sunday.
In the Goa Assembly elections held earlier this year, the BJP emerged as the single largest party, winning 20 seats in the 40-member state Assembly and reducing Congress to 11 seats.
The Goa political developments come after Eknath Shinde's camp joined hands with BJP to form government in Maharashtra following the collapse of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government.
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