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Big blow to Congress in Goa, MLA Ravi Naik resigns, only 3 MLAs survived

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The Congress party has again suffered a major setback in Goa. Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Ravi Naik on Tuesday resigned from the membership of the state assembly. He became MLA from Ponda’s seat. He submitted his resignation letter to Speaker Rajesh Patekar. After Naik’s resignation, there are only 37 MLAs left in the 40-member assembly. Of these, only three of the Congress are left.

Let us tell you that before this two MLAs have recently resigned. Naik is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is worth noting that assembly elections are due in the state next year.

Earlier, former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro had resigned as a Congress MLA in September this year. He later joined the Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee. He has decided to contest the assembly elections to be held early next year.

Congress’ reaction to Naik’s resignation

With Naik’s resignation, the strength of the Congress in the 40-member Goa Assembly has come down to three. Reacting to Naik’s resignation, state Congress chief Girish Chodankar said that the party had “rejected” him long ago and he was not even being considered as the party’s candidate for the upcoming state elections.

Naik, who represents the Ponda constituency in Goa, submitted his resignation to the Speaker of the Assembly, Rajesh Patekar. He was accompanied by his two sons, who had joined the ruling BJP last year. “I have resigned. I will tell you about my next course of action,” Naik told reporters here after submitting his resignation.

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Naik can join BJP

According to sources, Naik is expected to join the BJP later in the day in the presence of the party’s Goa election in charge of Devendra Fadnavis. Ravi Naik’s younger son Roy Naik said that he has requested his father to join the BJP.

Let us tell you that in the 2017 state assembly elections, Congress emerged as the single largest party by winning 17 seats. However, the BJP, which won 13 seats, has formed an alliance with some regional organizations and independent candidates to form the government in the coastal state.

No harm to the party by resignation

Meanwhile, Chodankar claimed that Naik’s departure would not hurt Congress as Naik was “only technically present in the party”. “He already had a leg in the BJP. He had sent his sons to the BJP earlier,” the Congress leader told reporters. Chodankar said that Congress has started forming a new leadership in the Ponda assembly constituency. “We did not include Naik in any party program. We had rejected Naik long back,” he said.

The Congress leader said he had already predicted that Naik would quit the party four-five months before the elections. He said that the name of Naik was not mentioned by the Ponda Block Committee during the meeting held to shortlist the candidate from the upcoming constituency. “Naik was not even considered as the party’s candidate for the next election,” he said.

The biggest setback to Congress was in 2017

Since the 2017 state assembly elections, several Congress MLAs have left the party and joined the BJP. Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane was the first to resign from Congress. Later he joined BJP and won the by-election from this seat. Rane is currently the health minister of the state. Soon after Rane’s exit, two more Congress MLAs – Subhash Shirodkar (who represented the Shiroda seat) and Dayanand Sopte (Mandrem) – left the party to join the BJP. Both of them later won the by-elections held in May 2019.

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The biggest blow to the Goa Congress came in July 2019, when a group of 10 of its MLAs left the party under the leadership of the then Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar. Kavlekar is currently serving as the Deputy Chief Minister in the Pramod Sawant-led state government. At present, Congress has only three MLAs in the state.