Panaji | Jagran News Desk: Winds of political instability in neighbouring Karnataka reached Goa Wednesday, with two- thirds (10 out of 15) of Congress MLAs breaking away to merge with the ruling BJP in the coast 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.

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 Congress in the House would be reduced to five.

BJP is the single largest party with 17,Goa Forward Parrty and Independents have three each, while one MLA each is from NCP and MGP.

When asked, Kavlekar refused to give reason behind their move, but said that they will make a statement later in the evening.

Sawant was sworn in as CM in March this year, after the death of then CM Manohar Parrikar.

The Goa crisis has emerged as the Congress fights for survival in Karnataka, where its coalition with the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) is dangerously close to a collapse after 18 exits. If the resignations are accepted - the speaker has rejected many of them as invalid - the balance will shift from the Congress-JDS to the BJP, which had last year fallen just short of the majority mark.

Karnataka Congress leaders have made desperate efforts to save the government, showing more spirit than their colleagues in other states.

The Congress has been stumbling from crisis to crisis since its defeat in the national election, in which the party won just 52 seats across the country and was wiped out in 17 states. In the remaining states, the party is crumbling in slow-mo.

Much of the party's failure has been blamed on infighting, which has intensified in states like Punjab and Rajasthan, where it is in power.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta