BJP at par with Congress with 16 MLAs in Goa after merging with MGP

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Speculation and development of political scenario before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP once again clears its competency in GOA assembly. Late night at 1:45 am, the Deputy Speaker and the Officiating Minister of the State Assembly, Michael Lobo, was presented a letter that sought the merger of the two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) legislators into the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in the presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state party President Vinay Tendulkar.

MGP MLAs Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pushkar, forming the two third of the majority from MGP have merged with the BJP. They first split from MGP to form MGP-II and then merged with the BJP. “In view of the sub-clause (2) of clause 4 of the tenth schedule (anti-defection law), and in view of the fact that we constitute the 2/3rd of the majority, such merger shall be deemed to have taken place,” the letter submitted by the two MLA reads.

The third member of MGP, Dipak Dhavalikar has not signed the letter. Dhavalikar, MGP president and Sudin’s brother insisted to contest against BJP from the Shiroda assembly although he has been requested by BJP to drop his candidature against BJP.

On the response to the question on the ethnicity of proceedings at midnight and making the speaker’s office available at irregular hours, Lobo said, “the job of a speaker is of 24 hours”.

In the last week’s government formation, on March 19 at Raj Bhawan, the MGP was given two ministerial berths in spite of the party leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sudin Dhavalikar asking for three. In the government formation, Dhavalikar was sworn in as the PWD Minister and Ajgaonkar as Tourism Minister.

The recent development has brought BJP at par with Congress with 14 seats. With its ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) and support of the Independents, the BJP led coalition government has 20 MLAs including the speaker.

Previous year two resignations of the Shirodkar, the then MLA from Shiroda, and Sopte, MLA from Mandrem, decreased Congress strength to 14, same as BJP in the current elections.

The BJP-MGP tie-up is likely to result in a polarised fight between saffron camp and the Congress-NCP alliance.

Marashtrawadi Gomantak party was the politically dominant force in the 80s in the state. However, BJP marked its sway as the leading voice of Hindus, pushing MGP to the margins.

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