The Congress alleged that its leader Michael Lobo had engineered the defections along with the BJP.
After six of its 11 MLAs were placed under house arrest on Sunday, Congress-the Grand Old Party in Goa was in danger of dissolving. It also removed Michael Lobo from his role as leader of the opposition in the Goa Assembly on the same day for allegedly attempting to engineer defections while working with the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The announcement about the legislators going incommunicado and the sacking of Lobo from the post was made by the party's Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao.
At the press conference, Rao said a "conspiracy was hatched by some of our own leaders with the BJP" to weaken the party and "engineer defection". "The conspiracy was led by two of our own leaders- leader of opposition Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat".
Panaji, Goa | 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 & Digambar Kamat: AICC Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao pic.twitter.com/CnmTHQ90xh— ANI (@ANI) July 10, 2022
Rao announced that Michael Lobo had been "immediately removed from the role of Leader of Opposition of Goa" and that a new leader would be chosen. "We will take whatever legal measures are necessary to combat this kind of defection and anti-party activity. Let's wait to see how many folks stick around or leave. Five of our MLAs are present, and we're in contact with a few more who will join us, 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 and the other person- Michael Lobo did for the sake of power and position. BJP wants to finsih the Opposition," he added.
He also alleged that the Congress legislators had been offered huge amounts of money, but their six MLAs had stood firm.
The rumor of a defection began to circulate on Saturday, when the Congress held a gathering of its MLAs ahead of the opening of the two-week Budget Session.
According to MLA Aleixo Sequeira, seven MLAs were present at the “courtesy meeting”. But Digambar Kamat, skipped the meeting.
Besides Kamat, Saligao MLA Kedar Naik, Siolim MLA and Lobo’s wife Delilah Lobo, Nuvem MLA Alexio Sequeira and Cumbharjua legislator Rajesh Phaldessai also stayed away from the meet.
Refuting the rumours of engineering a defection in the Congress, BJP state President Sadanand Tanavade was quoted as 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.
In the Pramod Sawant-led dispensation, the ruling BJP has 20 MLAs, and the government also enjoys the support of five others- two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three independents. Congress had won only 11 seats in the assembly polls held in February this year.