Goa Congress removes legislative party leader Michael Lobo for planning defections to BJP

The Congress on Sunday removed Michael Lobo as the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly for conspiring to engineer a defection in the party.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said a conspiracy was hatched and led by Lobo and former chief minister Digambar Kamat to weaken the party in the coastal state.

“A conspiracy was hatched by some of our own leaders with the BJP to see that the Congress party in Goa is weakened and to engineer defections. This conspiracy was led by 2 of our own leaders, LoP Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat,” said Dinesh Gundu Rao.

He added, “We are expelling Michael Lobo from the party with immediate effect, and he is no longer the Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Assembly.”

Alleging that the BJP wants to finish the Opposition in the coastal state, he said, “Both these people had been working in total coordination with BJP. One person- Digambar Kamat- did it to safeguard his own skin because so many cases are against him & the other person- Michael Lobo- for the sake of power & position.”

Rao said the BJP was trying for a two-thirds split to see that a minimum of eight of the Congress MLAs leave the party. “Many of our people have been offered huge amounts of money. I’m shocked at the amount offered. But our six MLAs stood firm. I’m proud of them,” he said.

“The Congress party will not be disheartened or weakened. We will take up this issue in a more aggressive manner. We will take it to the people this betrayal that is being engineered by two people for the sake of power and personal gain,” Rao said.

He further said action against these leaders would be taken.

“A new leader will be elected. Whatever action has to be taken by law against this kind of defection, anti-party work will follow. Let’s see how many people will stay or move. Five of our MLAs are here, we’re in touch with some more MLAs and they’ll be along with us,” he added.

The Speaker of the Goa Assembly, Ramesh Tawadkar, on Sunday cancelled the notification announcing elections for the post of Deputy Speaker amid reports of Congress MLAs’ plans to defect to the BJP. The election was to be held on July 12.

The Congress has 10 MLAs in the 40-strong Goa assembly. The BJP rules the state with 20 MLAs.

READ | Rs 40 crore to join BJP: Goa Congress leader’s explosive claims amid mutiny buzz

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