Goa Congress working president Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco resigned as a Member of the Legislative Assembly on Monday, reported PTI. This brought down the party’s strength to two in the 40-member House ahead of the state elections expected early next year.

Congress leaders Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane are the only two remaining MLAs of the party in the state.

Last week, the Congress included Lourenco’s name in the first list of eight candidates for the Assembly elections.

Reports cited speculation that the three-time MLA from Curtorim in south Goa might join the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, according to The Hindu.

Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao, who is the state unit desk in-charge, said that the party is “undeterred and unfazed”.

In a tweet, he wrote, “People who do things selfishly and betray trust will face the consequences. After taking whatever he could and misleading us till the last minute, if he could lie and cheat us, I am sure the voters of Curtorim will teach him a befitting lesson.”

The Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly, Digambar Kamat, said that the Congress had successfully faced many storms, floods and tsunamis. “Our functionaries have strength and mettle to defeat opportunists,” he said in a tweet. “Congress party is here to form government in 2022. I am committed to lead the party to a thumping victory.”

Defections in Goa

On December 10, ahead of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s visit to the state, several party leaders resigned.

A group of party leaders from the Porvorim Assembly constituency, who tendered their resignations, are supported by Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte. A day before this, senior Congress leader from South Goa Moreno Rebelo had also submitted his resignation.

On December 7, MLA and former Chief Minister Ravi Naik had tendered his resignation from the Goa Assembly. Naik had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on the same day of his resignation.

In September, veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro had quit the Sonia Gandhi-led party and joined the Trinamool Congress.

In 2017, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 17 legislators in the Assembly. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which won 13 seats, formed alliances with regional outfits and Independent MLAs to form the government.