BJP has 'taken' 2 Goa Congress MLAs: Official

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BJP has 'taken' 2 Goa Congress MLAs: Official

Panaji: In a fresh twist to the ongoing saga of political instability in Goa, two Congress MLAs who left the coastal state for Delhi late on Monday, may have been "taken" by the BJP, Congress leader A. Chellakumar said here on Tuesday.

The two legislators -- Subhash Shirodkar, a former minister and Dayanand Sopte -- were expected to meet Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah in the national capital on Tuesday.

Congress Committee Secretary in-charge for Goa Chellakumar also said the two were intimidated by Shah and poached by Health Minister in the BJP-led coalition government Vishwajit Rane, who is angling for the Chief Minister's post, in case sitting Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar steps down owing to his health condition.

"I got a message that Vishwajit Rane was the man who has convinced and taken them to Delhi and he has bargained with the BJP high command, that if he got the two Congress MLAs he should be made the Chief Minister.

"On that note, money power and official machinery, they have taken these two MLAs," Chellakumar told reporters.

The Congress official also alleged that the Congress MLAs were a victim of "fear psychosis" due to constant threats from the BJP.

Rane said that Chellakumar's statements reeked of "frustration" as the Congress was bleeding MLAs. Rane, himself a former Congressman had joined the BJP in 2017.

The latest spell of political instability in Goan politics has been triggered by an ailing Parrikar, with coalition allies beginning to clamour for meaty portfolios and the BJP readying alternatives to the former Defence Minister, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer.

Resignations of Congress's Sopte and Shirodkar from MLA-posts, was expected to blunt Congress' efforts to cobble together numbers for the formation of a coalition government.

The resignations were also expected to do away with the Congress' strategic advantage as the single largest party in the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly, bringing its legislative strength on par with the BJP at 14 MLAs.

The incumbent BJP-led coalition government has 14 BJP MLAs, supported by three MLAs each from the Goa Forward, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, three Independent MLAs and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao.