Panaji, Raided and ravaged thrice in two years by the ruling BJP, the Congress in Goa, now left with only five MLAs in the 40-member Assembly, has hope of revival, former Chief Minister and party MLA Digambar Kamat said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, 10 of the 17 Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, quit the party and defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Congress’ five MLAs, four of them being former Chief Ministers, are left with the onerous task of cornering the Pramod Sawant-led coalition government when the monsoon session of the Goa Legislative Assembly begins on July 15.
Since the 2017 state Assembly elections, 13 Congress MLAs have switched over to the BJP, whose strength has increased from 13 to 27.
Asked about the defection, Kamat told IANS: “If the opposition leader himself quits the party and joins the BJP, what can I say?”
Kavlekar on Wednesday announced to the media that he quit the party because of infighting among senior Congress MLAs.
The remaining Congress MLAs apart from Kamat are former Chief Ministers Luizinho Faleiro, Pratapsingh Rane, Ravi Naik and Aleixo Reginaldo.
Both Kamat and Naik have earlier served as Ministers in the BJP-led coalition government headed by late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Asked if the five MLAs would be able to take on the might of the rejuvenated Sawant-led government, which at the moment has a majority of 33 seats, Kamat said: “There should be no problem.
“The Congress has a strong base in Goa. That is why the party gets MLAs elected in every election.”