Wednesday 21 February 2024

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Politics | Toppling Games

President's rule by tomorrow

 

Goa is expected to be brought under President’s rule by tomorrow as all the political parties in Goa have demanded dissolution of the Assembly, following resignation by chief minister Luizinho Faleiro today instead of facing the floor test and the Bharatiya Janata Party taking a firm stand not to support any new government in the 40-member House.

The central cabinet, in the absence of prime minister Atel Bihari Vajpayee, is likely to meet tomorrow afternoon to take a final decision regarding the central rule, which would be then recommended to the President of India.

However, whether the Assembly would be dissolved immediately or be kept under suspended animation pending approval from the Parliament in a session beginning from 22 February to dissolve the House is still not clear.

Confusion regarding the President’s rule was prevailing till today evening as only the BJP had submitted the demand in this regard in writing to the governor J F R Jacob. The Congress chief minister, while submitting his resignation today afternoon, had however only demanded dissolution of the House, going back on his earlier stand of imposition of the President’s rule.

Following this, the governor had asked Dr Wilfred de Souza, who had earlier staked claim to form a coalition government with the support of opposition parties including the BJP, to submit a fresh claim in a changed situation.

Dr Willy however responded only in the late evening, along with leaders of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, pronouncing the BJP demand for dissolution and the central rule. "The question of staking claim does not arise as the BJP is not supporting my government", said de Souza in his letter.

With the four-member BJP backing out on its earlier assurance to support de Souza, his coalition reduced to 17 in the 40-member House. The Congress, on the other hand, is having 19 members including the Congressman speaker and one independent..

The crisis had arisen six days ago as Faleiro government was pushed into minority with two ministers including one independent resigning and supporting de Souza to form the government. He was surviving with a majority of one and preferred to resign than facing the floor test today evening.

Changing its earlier stand to support de Souza to form the government, the four-member BJP then rushed to the Raj Bhavan, demanding in writing the President’s rule and elections by June. "The current Assembly has lost all its sanctity and therefore no government has a right to rule the state", stated the letter.

Manohar Parrikar, the BJP spokesman, also demanded that the Assembly may be kept under suspended animation till final decision is taken. "Otherwise money games would start once again to garner majority on either side", he felt, after returning from the Raj Bhavan.

Doing volte face on its earlier demand of imposition of the President’s rule, the Congress has kept its demand limited to dissolution while giving a fresh letter to the governor today afternoon. "It is the governor’s prerogative to recommend central rule", Faleiro told the journalists later.

However, making the intentions of the Congress clear, Goa PCC chief Shantaram Naik said : "since Congress losing its majority is not proved legally anywhere, Faleiro should be allowed to continue as the caretaker chief minister till elections".

It was finally end also of all the speculations as well as claims by various camps. Dr Willy’s camp was claiming to garner support of at least four Congressmen to stake the claim, obviously by engineering further defections. Faleiro however claimed otherwise, stating that few legislators from de Souza’s Goa Rajiv Congress have approached him for a comeback.

De Souza, while announcing his decision after returning from the Cabo Raj Bhavan, however accused the BJP of backstabbing. He was desperately trying to remain as the caretaker chief minister by forming the government and then recommending dissolution.

BJP MLA Parrikar however justified his stand of not giving support to de Souza, stating that they were sceptical about de Souza recommending dissolution after forming the coalition government. "We were not getting any firm assurance", he said. 


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