Sunday 26 May 2019

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Sardinha sworn in, Faleiro resigns


The five-day long political suspense prevailing in Goa finally ended today with Francisco Sardinha, leader of the Congress' breakaway group, being sworn in as the new chief minister along with his 10 colleagues.

Three legislators of the 10-member strong Bharatiya Janata Party, which is still negotiating over participating in the coalition government, is expected to be sworn in tomorrow morning. Sardinha would face the trust vote within a week.

The coalition government of the Congress (Sardinha group) and the BJP would also be supported by the two-member Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, one-member Nationalist Congress Party and an independent.

Luizinho Faleiro, whose five-month old government had come into minority on 19 November due to sudden split, resigned 45 minutes before he could face the house with a trust vote yesterday afternoon.

"It would definitely last the full term", assured Sardinha, claiming that history would not repeat in Goa. He is the 12th chief minister being sworn in in the last nine years since 1990, when the defection game had begun in the tiny tourist state.

But he is having at least five legislators among the 11, known to be habitual defectors for want of a ministerial berth or lucrative portfolios. In fact, the splinter group includes four ministers and a deputy speaker, besides two former ministers.

Sardinha's cabinet includes Dayanand Narvekar, Subhash Shirodkar and Somnath Juwarkar who had split as ministers, Alex Sequeira who quit the deputy speaker's post, former ministers Mauvin Godinho and Victoria Fernandes and four first-time ministers – Arecio D'Souza, Bandu Desai, Francis D'Souza and Francis Silveira.

While former opposition leader Manohar Parrikar is declined to take up cabinet berth, the BJP is still undecided about the three members to be sworn in. "We have not postponed it, Mr Sardinha has preponed swearing in of others", says Parrikar, claiming that no differences exist over the issue.

Though Sardinha denies it, Faleiro asserts that it was the gameplan of the BJP to dislodge the Congress government, which was given mandate by the people to rule the state in the Assembly polls held in June.

Unlike hung Assemblies being elected twice since 1989, it is the first time people had elected 21 Congressmen to rule in the 40-member House. In spite of engineering defections in three parties to increase its strength to 26, his own partymen pulled him down.

"There were four coups in the past, the first being attempted 25 days after I took over in June", discloses Faleiro, admitting that he had to expand his five-member cabinet by equal number to save his government. But, then the problem started over portfolio allocation, he admits now.

While the Sardinha-led splinter group holds Faleiro's authoritarian rule responsible for his downfall, the latter firmly believes that he was victim of the industrial lobbies. "My efforts to plug revenue leakages and tax these lobbies to overcome the debt trap cost me the seat of power", he claims.

He does not believe that the coalition government would last long as the BJP would not allow the new government to function. Parrikar, the BJP leader, however claims that he has remained out primarily to co-ordinate the coalition rule in an efficient manner. 

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