'They just want to show that the Congress is in disarray.'
Even as the Congress was battling to save its government in Karnataka, a group of 10 Congress MLAs in Goa merged with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday.
The anti-defection law will not apply to these MLAs as two-thirds of the party MLAs have switched over to the saffron party.
Out of 15 Congress MLAs, only 5 MLAs are left in the Goa Congress.
Of these five, four -- Pratapsingh Rane, Digambar Kamat, Ravi Naik and Luizinho Falerio -- are former chief ministers of the state.
The odd man out is Alexio Reginaldo Lourenco, the Congress MLA from South Goa.
"These MLAs (who changed sides) were cheated by the masterminds. But soon they will come to know how they were fooled," Lourenco tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.
What is happening in the Goa Congress? Why have these MLAs quit the party overnight?
I don't know.
This was going on for the last 15 days.
It was expected.
I think this move in Goa has been done to help the BJP in Karnataka.
They just want to show that the Congress is in disarray.
The BJP's move in Goa is a very bad move.
But now they have done it.
These (rebel) Congress MLAs have sacrificed the interests of Goa.
People will not take this move lightly.
The Congress was very strong in Goa. What has happened to it?
We almost formed the government and the people of Goa supported us.
But what can you do about greed?
There is no solution for greed.
These MLAs are so selfish and self-centred.
I can say two or three (rebel Congress) MLAs masterminded this.
Others did not use their mind and just followed them.
These MLAs were cheated by the masterminds.
But soon they will come to know how they were fooled.
The first person who will come to know about this move will be Vijay Sardesai (Goa deputy chief minister).
Next our (rebel Congress) MLAs will know.
It is the circle of events.
It is only a matter of time when everybody will be exposed.
There is somebody above us who is watching us.
I will be there to see their position.
The rebel MLAs have cited no developments in their constituencies due to the leadership crisis in the party as a reason for changing sides. What is your take?
I can't help it if they feel that way.
At the end of the day you have to see your voter.
Your voter will not believe you if you say such things.
Voters know that this move by MLAs has been done for their selfish purpose.
I don't think this theory is right.
(Interrupts) Now, the whole Congress is in the BJP. So what will real BJP fellows say?
Forget about what the Congress is saying.
Tell me what BJP workers are saying about these rebel Congress MLAs being inducted into their party.
Moreover, people voted these Congress MLAs on a Congress ticket because they wanted a change.
Now these same Congress MLAs go and join the BJP.
So what was the point for the voters to go and vote these MLAs?
How are ground level BJP workers reacting to this latest development?
There is a rift in the BJP.
It has already started.
BJP workers are very upset.
What about the leadership crisis in the Congress?
In the Congress, what high command suggests, people follow the order.
Those who do not follow get sidelined.
What will be your next move?
(Laughs) I will play the role of good Opposition.
I will take others along whoever wants to come with me.
Democracy needs the Opposition and I will play that role.
What about the morale of Congress workers?
Our workers will remain with us provided we do our job as (good) Opposition leaders.