Saturday 15 May 2021

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Politics | Toppling Games

Willy may succeed in countering crisis

 

Goa chief minister Dr Wilfred de Souza may succeed in reverting the political crisis his three-month old coalition government is plunged into due to resignation of three ministers as the game of numbers in the 40-member House still favours him.

The 24-member ruling coalition consists of 10 members from de Souza's Goa Rajiv Congress and eight from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, who are participating in the government. The rest, including four Bharatiya Janata Party members and two independents are supporting it from outside.

On the other hand, the Congress has only 15 members and one independent along with them. The Congress government was toppled in July with 10 Congressmen led by Dr Willy and Narvekar staging a revolt.

While resigning, three ministers - Dayanand Narvekar, Subhash Shirodkar and Pandu Vasu Naik - along with deputy speaker Deu Mandrekar, planned to join back the Congress fold and bring it back to power.

But the probable split led by rebel leader Narvekar would swell the Congress strength to only 20 while the speaker still belongs to the Congress. As this leads to hung Assembly with 20 each on both the sides, the Congress requires minimum one legislator to defeat the coalition government in the House.

But Dr Willy, who is presently in London attending the World Tourism Mart along with one minister and one MLA as well as the chief secretary, seems to have played yet another shrewd game by dropping only Narvekar from the ministry. By not accepting resignations of two others, he has kept the option open for them to return.

While the Congress now entirely depends upon independent MLA Manu Fernandes to achieve the magic figure of 21, Dr Willy is planning to induct him in the cabinet in order to fill the vacancy created by Narvekar. In case the two ministers remain adamant with their decision, he may go ahead by inducting two more independents into the cabinet, including the one in the Congress camp.

The decision in this regard is likely to be taken by today evening once Dr Willy arrives from London, provided the Congress does not succeed in engineering further defection in the GRC camp.

State opposition leader Luizinho Faleiro, belonging to the Congress, has still not announced his decision to stake the claim to form the government. But Maharashtra Rajya Sabha MP Govindrao Adik, en emissary sent by Goa observer Madhavrao Scindia, is already down in Goa, confabulating with the local party leaders.

All the Congress legislators as well as the four GRC rebels are presently being locked up at the Leela Beach Resort in South Goa, escorted by strongman Churchill Alemao, while remaining GRC men, who could probably join the rebels, are kept under tight security at Dr Willy's bungalow.

But how long they could succeed in locking them up is still a question since the final outcome could come only on 2 December, 12 days from now, when the Assembly has been summoned. The ruling coalition was supposed to change the speaker in this session.

Meanwhile, transport minister Fatima D'Sa has alleged that the mining lobby, including one mine owner having close family relations with the Reliance Industries, is behind the move to dislodge the government since she had raided several mines recently to bring to the light tax evasion by them on heavy machinery used on mines.     


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