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Appointment of two deputy CMs did not violate model code: Goa CEO

Goa’s Chief Electoral Officer explained that the Commission took the view that the order was a legitimate exercise of constitutional powers by the Governor of Goa.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2019 19:22 IST
Gerard de Souza
Gerard de Souza
Hindustan Times, Panaji
Pramod Sawant,Goa CEO,Congress
The Congress party had alleged that the Goa government violated the code of conduct by appointing two deputy Chief Ministers from alliance partners. (PTI PHOTO)

The Election Commission has ruled that the appointment of two deputy chief ministers by Goa’s newly elected Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has not violated the model code of conduct.

Goa’s Chief Electoral Officer, Kunal (he prefers not to use a surname) explained that the Commission took the view that the order was a legitimate exercise of constitutional powers by the Governor of Goa.

“The order was an exercise of constitutional powers by the Governor. The Governor is well within her constitutional powers. We have given a report to the Election Commission that no further action needs to be taken in the matter and they have accepted our report,” Kunal said.

“The government formation process is out of the purview of the Model Code of Conduct, only if there are some government appointments being made then those would be a violation,” he added.

The Congress party had alleged that the Goa government violated the code of conduct by appointing two deputy Chief Ministers from alliance partners.

“The issuance of this order during the period of the model code of conduct is a clear violation and as such this order should be immediately set aside and strict action should be taken by the officer,” the Congress had said in its complaint sent in March.

The complaint alleged violation of Article 6(d) of the code which states that “ministers and other authorities shall not make any ad-hoc appointments in government, public undertakings etc which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power” while the code is in force.

The BJP government through an order issued by an undersecretary of the General Administration Department had designated Sudin Dhavalikar and Vijai Sardesai, leaders of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party respectively as ‘deputy chief ministers’ with immediate effect.

Barely a week later, Dhavalikar was dropped as a minister and deputy chief minister and a fresh order was issued designating Manohar Ajgaonkar who along with his MGP colleague Deepak Pauskar merged their MGP faction with the BJP in a late night political move.

First Published: Apr 11, 2019 19:22 IST