The Congress in Goa scrambled to refute talk of a brewing revolt on Sunday as a party meeting saw less-than-full attendance amid reports of some leaders being in touch with the ruling BJP a day before an assembly session.
The Congress has denied any rift within the party, with Goa unit chief Amit Patkar saying such rumours were being spread by the ruling BJP ahead of the two-week Budget Session of the assembly, news agency PTI reported.
“Seven MLAs are there (at the meeting). I was not called by high command, only here for a courtesy meeting. Rumours (about MLAs leaving for BJP) are all over, what is to be done. I can vouch for myself, can’t say for anyone else,” Congress MLAs Aleixo Sequeira told news agency ANI.
According to sources, Digambar Kamat – the party’s Chief Ministerial nominee in the elections held earlier this year – skipped a meeting of MLAs on Saturday.
A former Chief Minister, Mr Kamat is reportedly upset that the part’s Michael Lobo was made Leader of the Opposition – a claim the party denied.
Some reports also suggest that even Mr Lobo, who switched from the BJP to the Congress right before the elections, is also in touch with his former party.
Meanwhile, Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Sunday cancelled the notification for election to the post of Deputy Speaker, which was scheduled for Tuesday.
Goa’s 40-member assembly has 25 legislators from the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and 11 from the opposition Congress.
The Congress had last seen a split in 2019 when most of its MLAs switched to the BJP, leaving the party with only four former Chief Ministers in its ranks.
During the Goa elections earlier this year, the party made all its MLAs take a loyalty pledge not to switch sides.