After the Congress on Sunday removed party MLA Michael Lobo as the Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Assembly alleging that he along with Digambar Kamat hatched a conspiracy to engineer defections in “total coordination” with the BJP, Congress MLA Michael Lobo on Monday said that he was clueless about the sacking as all MLAs were together in South Goa and he had requested the party about his wish to discontinue as the LoP.

“I don’t know what is the problem. All Congress MLAs were together. We went to South Goa. Again they wanted to have another press conference, I had requested the party that he does not want to continue as Leader of Opposition ” said Lobo.

He also aligned with the party and dismissed the possibility of walking over to the BJP.

“We have won on Congress ticket and we are with the Congress party. We are with the Congress party so the question does not arise of having so many press conferences. I had told them that I was not interested to continue as LoP. There are so many issues raised against me,” he added.

GPCC president Amit Patkar informed that he has submitted a letter to the Assembly Speaker regarding the resolution of the CLP meeting to remove CLP leader Michael Lobo. “Our new CLP leader will be finalized by today & we will submit the same… we have 6 MLAs with us and one more is expected; a total of 7,” he said.
When asked if Congress MLAs came to meet him, Goa CM Pramod Sawant said, “As CM, many people come to meet me. Tomorrow is Assembly, people came to meet me regarding that. I am busy with my assembly work… Why will I comment on issues related to other parties?”

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, AICC Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said that 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 two of our own leaders, Leaders of Opposition Michael Lobo and Digambar Kamat. 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- for the sake of power and position. BJP wants to finish Opposition,” he said.

Rao said that a new leader will be elected for the post of Leader of Opposition.

“A new leader will be elected. Whatever action has to be taken by law against this kind of defection, anti-party work will follow. Let’s see how many people will stay/move. Five of our MLAs are here, we are in touch with some more MLAs and they’ll be along with us,” he said.

Rao asserted that the Congress party will not be disheartened or weakened. “We will take up this issue in a more aggressive manner. We will inform the people that this betrayal is being engineered by two people for the sake of power and personal gain,” he added.

Amid rumours that some Congress MLAs may cross over to the ruling BJP, Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly, Ramesh Tawadkar on Sunday cancelled the notification announcing elections for the post of Deputy Speaker.

The order withdrawing notification of election for the post of Deputy Speaker was withdrawn on Sunday morning. The election was scheduled to be held on July 12 during the upcoming monsoon Assembly session.

Legislature Secretary Namrata Ulman has said that the notification issued on July 8 under Rule 308 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Goa Legislative Assembly stands withdrawn.

“Hence the notice of nomination for election of deputy speaker issued under 9(2) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Goa Legislative Assembly stands withdrawn also,” the order reads.

“All the Hon’ble members may note the same. No nomination shall be accepted for the aforesaid Election,” it adds.
The withdrawal comes amidst rife rumours claiming that a group of Congress MLAs may split to join the BJP. There was no formal confirmation even as the Congress MLAs held a series of meetings in the Margao town on Sunday.

In the Goa Assembly elections were held earlier this year, the BJP emerged as the single largest party, winning 20 seats in the 40-member state Assembly and reducing Congress to 11 seats. (ANI)