Goa Congress in turmoil, Wasnik rushed to handle problem

Five MLAs moved to an undisclosed location; new opposition leader to be named
Goa Congress in turmoil, Wasnik rushed to handle problem

New Delhi/Panaji: The Goa Congress is in Turmoil. Fearing a split in the party, the Congress leadership moved five of its MLAs to an undisclosed location after five other party legislators went incommunicado on Monday, sources said.

The party will also announce the name of its new leader of the opposition before the commencement of the assembly session, according to Goa Congress chief Amit Patkar. As of Monday morning, five of the total 11 Congress MLAs, in the 40-member Goa Assembly, were with the party, but five others remained out of reach. Another MLA Aleixo Sequeira was at home and pledged his support to the party. Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi rushed Mukul Wasnik to deal with the problem the party is facing in Goa.

A senior Congress leader confirmed that they moved the five MLAs, who are with the party, to an undisclosed location to avoid further 'split' in the outfit. “These MLAs will arrive at the Assembly complex to participate in the session,” he said.

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The current situation cropped up after the party filed a petition with the assembly Speaker on Monday, seeking disqualification of former chief minister Digambar Kamat and former leader of opposition Michael Lobo for anti-party activities.

The party leaders said that being incited by the Bharatiya Janata Party, both were trying to split the Congress in the state.  

Earlier, Goa Congress chief Amit Patkar said that the BJP was trying to finish up the opposition, and there is a need to save democracy.

“There was a move to split Congress MLAs. They couldn’t attain the number of two-third majority. That is why their stand is changed today. BJP wanted to repeat the 'Maharashtra pattern' (Eknath Shinde rebellion). But we made it sure that they don't get success and we stopped the defections,” he said.

Patkar said that the Supreme Court judgment holds that anti-party activities amount to voluntarily giving up of party membership. "We have evidence against them to prove that both were involved in anti-party activities and were trying to split MLAs," he said.

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Lobo and Kamat were both present for the Assembly session and have said that they are with Congress.

“I have not done any anti-party activity. I have attended all meetings of CLP, whenever I was called,” Kamat said. Congress Goa in charge Dinesh Gundu Rao on Sunday had said that they will not get weakened by the acts of Lobo and Kamat. "We will take this issue in a more aggressive manner. We will take it to the people and show how betrayal was done for the sake of power and personal gain,” he had said.