Panaji: A top Congress leader, who is among 8 others who joined the ruling BJP in Goa, on Wednesday said that Rahul Gandhi’s much-publicised Bharat Jodo Yatra will fail due to infighting among various factions within the party.

“People of Goa have told us that ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ is not going to be a success because of big infighting amongst the topmost leaders of the Congress party,” Michael Lobo said after joining the BJP.

Lob further claimed that all top Congress leaders who strengthened the party will leave it in the coming days because of too much of differences among themselves. “We’re representing the people, will have to hear their voices; They told us to leave and we are leaving,” Lobo added.

It may be noted that eight Congress MLAs in Goa, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, on Wednesday joined the ruling BJP, in a body blow to the opposition party which is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member state Assembly. 

The eight MLAs joined the BJP in presence of 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 the state Assembly elections in March this year. It has 20 MLAs in the Assembly, while the Congress’ strength will be depleted from 11 to three.

The eight Congress MLAs – Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes – were seen interacting with Sawant in a viral photo hours ahead of formally joining the BJP. 

Earlier on Wednesday, a resolution was passed in the Congress Legislature Party meeting here to merge with the BJP, Lobo said. The three other Congress MLAs – Yuri Alemao, Altone D’Costa and Carlos Alvares Ferreira – were not present when the resolution was passed, he added. 

Sawant told reporters that no decision has been taken yet on a cabinet reshuffle in the backdrop of the BJP strength rising to 28 in the House.

Addressing a press conference with state BJP chief Sadanant Shet Tanavade, Sawant said that BJP’s strength in the 40-member Assembly has gone up to 28 with the eight new entrants. The chief minister said eight of the 11 MLAs of Congress, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, have joined the BJP.

“With today’s development, the BJP now enjoys the support of 33 MLAs (including two of the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party and three Independents). These Congress MLAs have joined the BJP unconditionally,” Sawant said.

Taking a dig, Sawant said ‘the Congress Chhodo Yatra’ has begun from Goa and exuded confidence that the BJP will win another Lok Sabha seat in Goa in the next elections.

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