Winds of political instability in neighbouring Karnataka reached Goa on Wednesday, with two-thirds (10 out of 15) of Congress MLAs breaking away to merge with the ruling BJP in the coastal State.
The group, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the evening and gave him a letter, informing him about their breaking away from the party.
The MLAs include Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred DSa, Nilkant Halarnkar and Isidor Fernandes.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who was present when the group arrived at the Assembly complex, said the 10 MLAs have merged with the BJP.
With the 10 MLAs changing sides, the strength of the Congress in the House would be reduced to five.
The BJP is the single largest party with 17, the Goa Forward Party and Independents have three each, while one MLA each is from the NCP and the MGP.
When asked, Kavlekar refused to give reason behind their move, but said that they will make a statement later. Sawant was sworn in as CM in March after the death of then CM Manohar Parrikar.