The Congress-led ruling coalition in Goa may head for fresh turbulence with the tourism minister and a Congress legislator threatening to dislodge the government if a minister facing criminal charges was dropped from the cabinet.
Tourism Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco and Congress legislator Dayanand Narvekar have both warned Chief Minister Digambar Kamat that they would topple the government if Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane is dropped from the cabinet.
In August last year, Kamat had dropped then finance minister Dayanand Narvekar from the state cabinet after the latter was booked in a criminal case for forging thousands of one day international (ODI) cricket match tickets in 2001.
Vishwajeet, an independent legislator and son of Goa legislative assembly speaker Pratapsing Rane, was last week charged with threatening to kill a lawyer.
Mickky, who in the past has been an integral part of political upheavals, told reporters that he "had dislodged governments in the past and would not hesitate to do so now" if Vishwajeet was dropped from cabinet.
"Vishwajeet has only been chargesheeted till now. He is yet to be proved guilty. Filing of charges does not mean you are guilty," Mickky said.
Narvekar has also jumped on the bandwagon, saying that a "person was innocent until proven guilty".
"Vishwajeet has only been chargesheeted. If he is dropped from government, lots could happen after May 16, when the general election results are out," Narvekar said in a veiled threat to the chief minister.
He further accused Kamat of dropping him from the cabinet because of interests other than good governance.
"I was dropped because for some reason Kamat did not want me in the cabinet," Narvekar told IANS.
Although an independent legislator, Vishwajeet wields considerable influence over nearly half a dozen legislators of the coalition parties - the NCP, Congress, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) - as well as the lone unattached legislator Atanasio Monserrate.