Amid Congress efforts to dislodge the BJP government in Goa, senior Congress leader Digambar Kamat dispelled rumours that he was joining the rival camp. Mr Kamat, who reached Delhi this afternoon, said he “won’t commit suicide by joining the BJP”.
Through the day, there was a buzz that Mr Kamat – who moved from the BJP to the Congress in 2005 — is likely to switch sides again.
Reports suggested that the former Chief Minister was open to the idea if the BJP decided to replace Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, whose health has given rise to concern.
Mr Kamat’s Delhi visit was also tied to the switch – there was speculation that Mr Kamat was gone to meet BJP leaders.
At Goa airport, Mr Kamat said, “I am leaving for Delhi on a business trip. It is purely personal”.
His boss, state Congress chief Girish Chodankar, accused the BJP of spreading rumours about Kamat. “This is a game plan of the BJP’s dirty tricks department which is spreading rumours to malign the image of Kamat and the Congress,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Earlier today, Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said the BJP has been discussing the possibility of Mr Kamat joining the party. “Last evening, at BJP MLAs meeting, a discussion was held over Digambar Kamat joining BJP. The decision on whether he will be the CM will be taken by central leadership,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
At the meeting, the BJP state unit, however, decided that Manohar Parrikar will remain their leader.
“The Chief Minister is there and he is strong. So there is no reason to discuss leadership change,” Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral said. The BJP has the support of its allies in the matter.
The Congress has demanded that Governor Mridula Sinha dismiss the BJP government. The party, the Congress said, lacks majority in the 40-member assembly, whose current strength is 37.
Mr Kamat was second-in-command in the state BJP till 2005, when he switched to the Congress. He held the post of the chief minister from 2007 to 2012.
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