Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Goa BJP President Sadanand Shet Tanavade welcome eight Congress MLAs who joined the party, in Panaji, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. The newly joined members are Michael Lobo, Digambar Kamat, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: The crossing over of eight of its Goa MLAs to the BJP is part of the ruling party's 'Operation Kichad', the Congress said on Wednesday and claimed the "break" was fast-tracked because of the visible success of its Bharat Jodo Yatra.
In a body blow to the party in Goa, eight of the Congress' 11 MLAs, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, joined the ruling BJP. The Congress is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly.
"Operation Kichad of BJP in Goa has been fast tracked because of the visible success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. BJP is nervous," Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.
"A daily dose of diversion & disinformation is handed out to undermine the Yatra. We remain undeterred. We will overcome these dirty tricks of the BJP," he said.
His party colleague Pawan Khera echoed him and said the BJP, rattled by the Bharat Jodo Yatra, had organised 'Operation Kichad (mud)' in the coastal state.
"Once again it has been proven that the BJP can only break," the Congress' communication department head said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Those who are not able to support this difficult journey of uniting India, fearing the threats of BJP, cross over to those who break... (they) should understand that India is watching," he added.
The eight MLAs joined the BJP in the presence of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade. In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs had switched over to the BJP in Goa.
The BJP retained power in the coastal state after sssembly elections in March this year. It has 20 MLAs in the Assembly, while the Congress' strength will be depleted from 11 to three.