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Mutiny brewing in the Congress in Goa

Print edition : Aug 25, 2022 T+T-

Mutiny brewing in the Congress in Goa

 Congress MLAs Michael Lobo (left) and Sankalp Amonkar during the first day of the monsoon session of the Goa Assembly, in Porvorim on July 11.

Congress MLAs Michael Lobo (left) and Sankalp Amonkar during the first day of the monsoon session of the Goa Assembly, in Porvorim on July 11. | Photo Credit: PTI

Five months after Assembly elections in Goa, Michael Lobo, a senior Congressman and Leader of the Opposition, and Digambar Kamat, a former Chief Minister and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), reportedly tried to split the Congress party in the State by urging eight of the 11 party MLAs to defect from the Congress.

The Congress in Goa has asked the State Assembly Speaker to disqualify Lobo and Kamat for anti-party activities, including engineering defections. In order to dodge the anti-defection law, Lobo and Kamat allegedly tried to get two-thirds of the Congress Party MLAs to switch allegiance. The plan does not seem to have worked out. Reacting to these developments, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Goa Congress in-charge, has removed Lobo as Leader of the Opposition. At a media conference in Panjim, Rao said Lobo could no longer be trusted to lead the party in Goa. Voicing his disappointment at Kamat, Rao said the former Chief Minister had indulged in “cheap, dirty and desperate politics”.

Amit Patkar, president, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), said the party will seek the disqualification of Lobo and Kamat, as it believes the duo were conspiring with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to deplete the party of elected legislators. Meanwhile, Lobo told mediapersons that he was still with the Congress and that he will give up his position voluntarily. Kamat said he was “shocked, stunned and hurt” by Rao’s allegations. He also maintained he was still with the Congress.

In 2019, 10 Congress MLAs defected to the BJP, which allowed it to gain majority in the Assembly, enabling them to toss out its coalition partner, the Goa Forward Party.