Under attack over funding the trip of six of its MLAs to Brazil to watch the football World Cup, the Goa government decided to cancel the junket on Friday.
"We have cancelled official tour of MLAs to Brazil, bowing before public sentiment," Goa sports minister Ramesh Tawadkar said.
The legislators had decided to pick up the tab for the visit themselves earlier in the day, but dropped the plan of the trip amid growing pressure.
“We decided to go to Brazil on our own without taking money from the state government. We don't want to spend money from the state exchequer. We don't want to be a burden on the state coffers," fisheries minister Avertano Furtado said before the announcement cancelling the trip was made.
The proposed Brazil visit of the six MLAs, including ministers Ramesh Tawadkar (sports), Avertano Furtado (fisheries) and Milind Naik (power), had sparked a row after it became public that the state sports department had sanctioned Rs. 89 lakh for the tour.
The Congress termed the trip a “wasteful expenditure” and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to “stop the junket”, although chief minister Manohar Parrikar had defended the decision and described it as an “investment”.
Furtado said that the decision was unanimously taken by the six of them, including the MLAs Benjamin Silva (Independent), Glen Ticlo and Carlose Almeida (both BJP), after the media created a "hype" over the tour.
“It was a big hype created that we are going at the cost of the state exchequer. All six of us decided that we will pay from our own pockets and visit Brazil,” said Furtado, a former goalkeeper of Salgaocar Football Club.