In a surprising turn of events in the coastal state of Goa, senior Congress leader and former state chief minister Digambar Kamat has reportedly agreed to join the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP after he was promised chief ministerial post by the saffron party. The Congress party on Saturday had staked claim to form the government in Goa after the demise of BJP Member of Legislative Assembly or MLA, Francis D'Souza. The deteriorating health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the fear of losing alliance partners might have forced the BJP to lure one of the senior Congress leaders to its fold, say experts.
Kamat left for New Delhi on Sunday afternoon following the BJP core committee decided to offer him the CM's post at the cost of leaving the Congress party.
"Last evening, at BJP MLAs meeting, a discussion was held over Digambar Kamat joining BJP. The decision on whether he will be the CM will be taken by central leadership," Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo confirmed to ANI.
Kamat was second-in-command in the BJP till 2005 when he switched over to the Congress. He held the chief ministerial post from 2007 to 2012. "I am leaving for Delhi on a business trip. It is purely personal," Kamat said before boarding the flight to Delhi from the Goa airport, reported PTI.
Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo to ANI: Last evening, at BJP MLAs meeting, a discussion was held over Digambar Kamat joining BJP. The decision on whether he will be the CM will be taken by central leadership. (File pic-Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo) pic.twitter.com/tCrBK7L7Us— ANI (@ANI) March 17, 2019
The Congress, meanwhile said, the BJP was spreading rumours about Kamat switching the party. "This is a game plan of the BJP's dirty tricks department which is spreading rumours to malign the image of Kamat and the Congress," Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar told the agency, adding the BJP was trying to scare its own alliance partners with such speculations. "Kamat is very much in the Congress and he will continue with the party," he said.
As Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's health condition worsens, hectic political activity has taken centre stage in Goa. The Congress party, which has maximum MLAs in the state, is trying it's hard to form the government in the state by luring independents and regional party MLAs. Earlier the BJP's ally, Goa Forward Party (GPF), said it would rethink its support in case of "any eventuality". "Parrikar's health is a cause of political concern. The BJP is also discussing possibilities, so we, a group of MLAs from our party and independents, met him. We supported Manohar Parrikar, and not the party. So in case of any eventuality, we will rethink (our support to the BJP)," Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai said.
He asserted that everything would be on the table to discuss and "there will be a rethink". "Let them come with a proposal and we will think," he added.
The strength of Goa Assembly has reduced from 40 to 37 after the death of D'Souza and resignation of two MLAs -- Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte. Now the Congress is left with 14 legislators, while BJP with 13. The BJP also has the support of three MLAs of GFP and MGP and two MLAs, including one from NCP and an independent.
Edited by Manoj Sharma