The MLAs had filed the affidavit in the Supreme Court on February 8. (Representative image)
The road to revival does not appear to be easy for Congress in Goa. Days after its membership drive in the state hit a roadblock after party leaders and functionaries gave the coordination committee meetings a miss, two rebel MLAs told the Supreme Court that the party has ceased to exist in the Goa Assembly.
According to a report by The Indian Express, two of the 10 Goa Congress MLAs who crossed over to the BJP in July 2019 have filed an affidavit in the apex court claiming that State Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar holds no locus standi to file a petition against them as the party has ceased to exist in the state assembly. They claimed that the party has merged with the BJP.
Chodankar had filed a petition before the Goa Assembly Speaker seeking disqualification of the 10 defectors. Clafasio Dias and Wilfred D’sa, two of the 10 MLAs, have filed a counter-affidavit against his petition. They claimed that since 10 out of 15 Congress MLAs joined the BJP taking the saffron party’s majority to two-third, the remaining five MLAs are now independent MLAs.
The MLAs had filed the affidavit in the Supreme Court on February 8. It stated, “…the INC being merged with the BJP and the remaining 5 MLAs being independent MLA’s, the Petitioner has no locus standi to file the present petition in his capacity as President of the party and hence, the petition is liable to be dismissed”.
The affidavit added, “The Speaker is only concerned with the legislative party and not the political party, which is comprised of elected members of the Legislative Assembly. A political party is relevant only to an extent of determining total number of elected members of that party who constitute legislative party of the political party in the Legislative Assembly.”
After the 2017 Assembly Elections in Goa, 10 MLAs of Congress had crossed over to the BJP on July 10, 2019. The state PCC chief Chodankar had filed the disqualification petition on August 8, 2019. The Speaker is expected to decide the disqualification petition on February 26 in accordance with the direction of the apex court.