Goa CM Drops Dy Sudin Dhavalikar as Two of His Party MLAs Join BJP
MGP, the party of the two MLAs – Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar – is BJP’s ally in the state.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday, 27 March, dropped deputy CM Sudin Dhavalikar after two MLAs of the latter’s Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) broke away and joined the ruling BJP.
Dhavalikar, the lone MGP MLA who did not break away from the party, hit back, terming the development as “dacoity by chowkidars”.
In a communication addressed to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Sawant informed her about dropping Dhavalikar.
Speaking to ANI, Sawant said:
“He was doing anti-activities against the alliance, we had requested Sudin’s brother Deepak to not contest in Shiroda bypoll but he’s not ready to listen, so we have taken the decision.”
The CM's recommendation to drop Dhavalikar was accepted by Sinha.
Two MGP MLAs Join BJP
Two of the three MLAs of MGP joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the wee hours of Wednesday, 27 March. Now, the BJP’s strength in the Goa Assembly is 14.
The MGP is currently part of the BJP-led coalition government in the state.
“Two MGP MLAs – Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar – have joined BJP for the stability of the government. Automatically, our strength has grown to 14,” Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told ANI.
Goa Assembly Speaker Michael Lobo told The Indian Express that the two MLAs, tourism and sports minister Manohar Ajgaonkar and MLA Deepak Pauskar contacted his office at 1:30 am and their letters were accepted by 2 am.
“MGP's legislative wing has split. Two-third of MGP legislators formed a separate group and they're merging it with the BJP. All formalities as per the Constitution of India have been completed,” Lobo told ANI.
Speaking to The Indian Express Ajgaonkar said, “The decision had to be taken. MGP grew as a Bahujan party and he (Sudin) is expected to take us all along. I am a Dalit and I would have respected that. Here, it’s become a party which bends to the needs of his brother and negative action was taken against me and the other MLA on various matters by the two. He never even had time for us and no meetings ever took place.”
He also claimed that there were efforts by the MGP to topple the ruling government in the state and form the government with the Congress.
“The next government will be formed by BJP because wherever he (PM Modi) goes, people say: ‘Modi, Modi’. Because of Modi, BJP has developed in Goa,” Ajgaonkar told ANI.
‘Conspiracy’ to Islolate Sudin Dhavalikar?
The MGP on Tuesday had told PTI a "conspiracy" was being hatched by "our rivals" that might force it to move out and align with the Congress to form a new government.
Dhavalikar had also alleged that moves were afoot by his rivals to wean away Ajgaonkar and Pauskar, and in the process isolate Dhavalikar.
On being queried about whether the option of aligning with the opposition Congress was open to the MGP, Dhavalikar had replied in the affirmative.
After the demise of Manohar Parrikar, BJP's Pramod Sawant took over as chief minister. He heads a coalition government comprising the MGP, the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and three independent MLAs.
Sawant faced vote of confidence during which his government garnered the support of 20 MLAs: 11 from the BJP, three each from MGP and GFP, three independents.
Fifteen MLAs – 14 from Congress and one from NCP – voted against his government.
The support of three MGP MLAs was crucial as without them the strength of the coalition government would have reduced to 17 in the House. The magic figure in the 40-member Assembly, the strength of which has been reduced to 36 following resignations of two MLAs and demise of two including Parrikar, is 18 as of now.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and PTI)
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