The Congress party on Tuesday dismissed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s demand to induct tainted legislator Mickky Pacheco in the Goa cabinet, a party official said.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary BK Hariprasad, who is in charge of the party's affairs in Goa, ruled out former tourism minster Pacheco's inclusion in the 12-member cabinet, claiming that a group of 10 dissidents within the party was opposed to the move.
“We have a thin majority in Goa. Induction of Mickky would be problematic for the government. The dissidents want the status quo to be maintained,” Hariprasad told reporters at the Chief Minister’s Residence after meeting several of the party dissidents.
“Pacheco has charges of murdering a woman against him. It will be difficult for the Congress to induct him till he is cleared of the charges,” Hariprasad said.
“The government here is weak. It will be a tough job to induct Mickky,” he said, adding that he would convey the sentiments of the dissidents to the party high command.
The crisis in the Congress-led coalition government was precipitated after, according to NCP officials here, Sharad Pawar insisted on the inclusion of the controversial legislator in the cabinet.
Pacheco has a string of criminal cases against him ranging from culpable homicide, bigamy, assault and extortion. He is also suspected of illegal trafficking and money laundering by the US government’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which has formally asked the central government to probe him.
The current coalition cabinet has 12 ministers, nine from the Congress, two from the NCP and one from a regional party. The NCP leadership in Goa has already written to the chief minister, asking him to drop the two NCP ministers and include Pacheco, a move being opposed by the dissident group within the Congress led by state Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao, who is Pacheco's key political rival.
“If Mickky joins the cabinet, we will topple the government and go to the polls. We will not tolerate the dropping of the two ministers for inducting Mickky,” Alemao has said.