Lok Sabha elections 2019: With 2 am entry of two MGP lawmakers, BJP now has 14 MLAs in Goa
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa effected a split in its alliance partner the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party with two of the MGP’s three legislators -- Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Prabhu Pauskar -- writing to Speaker Michael Lobo that they “have agreed to merge with the BJP”.
The letter was received by the Speaker’s office at 1:45 am on Wednesday. The Speaker accepted the request and has asked the Secretary Legislature to “do the needful.” The Legislature Secretary issued an order merging the MGP Legislature Party with the BJP.
“The total strength of the legislators of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Legislative Party is three members and we constitute of 2/3rd of the members. We, Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar have agreed to merge with the Bharatiya Janata Party. In view of sub-clause (2) of clause 4 of the tenth schedule (anti-defection law), and in view of the fact that we constitute 2/3rd members of the legislative party, such merger shall be deemed to have taken place,” the letter to the speaker reads.
The duo submitted the letter to Speaker Michael Lobo along with chief minister Pramod Sawant and state party president Vinay Tendulkar.
Speaking of their decision to merge with the BJP, Pauskar blamed the party’s central committee for keeping them out of loop even on crucial matters.
“Both me and Babu (Manohar Ajgaonkar) were never called to a meeting of the central committee. We were never a part of the decision-making process in the MGP. I will be going to Raj Bhavan tomorrow (Wednesday). Whatever ministry I am given by the Chief Minister I will be happy with it. MGP party has split. The decision to drop will be taken, and after that, there will be a swearing-in,” said Pauskar who now expects to be sworn in as a minister.
Deepak Prabhu Pauskar is likely to be sworn in at 12 noon on Wednesday.
The move has isolated MGP leader and PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar who may now be dropped from the Goa cabinet and will no longer be a member of the ruling alliance.
The move will also bring the BJP’s numbers in the house to 14, the same as that of the Congress. Along with the support of the Goa Foward Party and the Independents, the BJP led coalition government enjoys the support of 20 MLAs, including the Speaker. The current strength of the Goa Assembly is 36.
The BJP is believed to have engineered the split after the MGP leadership -- especially MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar, the brother of PWD Minister and preeminent MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar -- continued to press forward his campaign to for the Shiroda by poll despite being requested by the ruling BJP to withdraw his candidature against the BJP.
Speaking earlier on Monday, State BJP president Vinay Tendulkar recalled how BJP union minister Nitin Gadkari himself spoke to Deepak Dhavalikar over phone and requested him to withdraw his campaign for the Shiroda seat.
“He agreed to do it but we noticed that Deepak has resumed his campaign for the Shiroda seat. We have informed the High Command of the development,” Tendulkar told a press conference on Monday.
Earlier the MGP expelled its General Secretary and former MLA Lavoo Mamledar from the party after he wrote to the Speaker, without the consent of the Dhavalikar brothers, that only communications sent via him from the MGP were to be considered authentic.
In November last year, the MGP had also filed a petition in the Bombay High Court at Goa challenging the decision of the Speaker to accept the resignations of the two Congress legislators who defected to the BJP. The petition was dismissed by the High Court which also imposed exemplary costs.