Former Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar has alleged that party MLAs were offered Rs 40 crore to join the BJP. The explosive claims come amid a strong buzz of mutiny in the state Congress, with at least six MLAs, led by former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, likely to join the saffron camp.
According to Chodankar, calls are being made to Congress legislators by industrialists and the coal mafia. Some of the MLAs, who were contacted, revealed this to Congress’s Goa in-charge, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Chodankar further claimed.
The BJP has, however, dismissed the allegations, with its state president, Sadanand Tanavade, telling India Today that the Congress is “making baseless allegations about MLAs being approached and offered money”.
“This is what they have been doing all along, and there is no substance to these things. Goa BJP has nothing to do with the confusion in Congress and we haven’t heard anything from our party in this regard,” he added.
Although the state Congress has been vehemently denying reports of a rift in the party, most MLAs skipped a party meeting this morning and a press conference in the evening, fanning the rumours.
Earlier in the day, Congress MLA Michael Lobo refuted the rumours of leaders switching sides. Rubbishing the claims, Lobo claimed that ‘rumours have been spread deliberately ahead of the Assembly session.’
“These are all rumours. There’s nothing as such. The Assembly [session] is starting and one rumour has to be spread by somebody or the other. I’ve not been told. If I’m told, I’ll tell you first,” he said.
Blaming the BJP for ‘creating rumours and confusion among people’, Goa Congress president Amit Patkar said, “Eight of our 11 MLAs are new. There was a meeting today on floor management (in the House). Our senior MLAs had discussions with the new MLAs, and I am hopeful that, from Monday, you will see Congress raising public issues (in the House) against this government, which has failed.”
The speculation of Congress MLAs joining the BJP began doing the rounds in May when BJP national general secretary and the party’s state in-charge, CT Ravi, said that the BJP, which currently has 20 MLAs, will have 30 MLAs by the end of the year. The BJP, with 20 MLAs, formed the government in the state with the support of five others.
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