Amid Goa power game, two Congress MLAs fly abroad

Panaji, Sep 20 : Two of the 16 Congress legislators in Goa flew abroad on Thursday amid the ongoing power game between the BJP and the Congress in the state.

Congress legislators Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Neri Rodrigues, both among the party MLAs paraded before Governor Mridula Sinha this week, left for China and Europe respectively amid media reports quoting BJP leaders that several Congress MLAs were willing to switch over to the BJP.

The ruling party is in the process of finding an alternative to ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and is under pressure from alliance partners for a bigger share in power.

State Congress President Girish Chodankar, however, said: “Rodrigues and Monserrate have gone out of station with the knowledge of the party as per pre-scheduled programmes. They will be in Goa at 48-hour notice whenever the party needs them.”

The Congress is the single largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly with 16 MLAs, while the BJP with 14 MLAs is supported by three members each of Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the lone Nationalist Congress Party legislator and three Independents.

What queers the pitch in the numbers game, however, is the health condition of three BJP MLAs — Parrikar and Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza who are being treated for cancer, and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar who is bed-ridden after suffering a brainstroke some months back.


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