Saturday 23 November 2019

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Politics | Toppling Games

Cong splits to support Sardinha

 

The Congress party cracked further in Goa today, on the occasion of the Independence Day, with five legislators forming another group to support the existing coalition government led by Francisco Sardinha.


The group led by Mormugao MLA Shaikh Hassan Haroon, consists of Suresh Parulekar (Calangute), Prakash Velip (Quepem), Jose Philip D'Souza (Vasco) and Philip Neri Rodrigues (Velim).

While confirming that the group called Indian National Congress (Shaikh group) has even submitted a letter to speaker Pratapsing Rane, Parulekar told GoaNews that they will support the coalition government unconditionally.

Even Churchill Alemao, senior vice president of the Goa PCC and a legislator, confirmed that the cause of the split was the fight which occurred between Goa PCC chief Luizinho Faleiro and CLP leader Ravi Naik at yesterday's CLP meet while both of them were not taking partymen into confidence.

While Faleiro refused to comment, Naik had even put off his mobile phone in order to avoid the media. Interestingly, even chief minister Sardinha, BJP leader Manohar Parrikar and even speaker Pratapsing Rane were not available for comments.

Sources close to Sardinha group claim that the plan is to drop two ministers – Mauvin Godinho and Aleixo Sequeira – while accommodating Shaikh and Parulekar in the cabinet. While Mauvin's resignation was demanded by the BJP last week, Sequeira may face the axe due to his continuous hobnobbing with the Congress for a homecoming.

Though Parulekar still claims that the support is unconditional, sources reveal that the remaining defectors will be made heads of the government-owned corporations. This may compel Sardinha to unseat some of the corporation heads, inviting wrath from them.

Besides Sardinha's 11 members of the Goa People's Congress, the 10-member BJP is part of the coalition government while two MGP men, sole NCP legislator Dr Wilfred de Souza and independent MLA Isidore Fernandes were supporting the government.

The new development would obviously strengthen Sardinha who will now have 16 Congressmen on his side, leaving only nine in the opposition camp ('real' Congress), it would also help in marginalising the BJP even within the government.

In order to counter the move, a source from South Goa reveals that some of the Congress legislators are trying to split the party further to join hands with the BJP to form a BJP-led coalition government, provided Sardinha's GPP also splits to support the move.

While keeping the 'defection tradition' high, the legislators even did not bother to keep the sanctity of the Independence Day for the act which any Goan is ashamed of. At least three of them had defected soon after June elections last year to join the then ruling Congress – Parulekar and Philip from the UGDP and Velip from the MGP.

Neri Rodrigues and Shaikh have however defected for the first time in their political career. Shaikh, the group leader of the splinter group, was even a minister for two terms in the Congress governments in the past and a speaker for one term. 






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