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A special one-day session was convened Thursday in the Goa Assembly, for pro-tem Speaker Sidharth Kuncalienkar to swear in the new MLAs and conduct a floor test. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was sworn in by Governor Mridula Sinha two days ago, was asked to prove his strength. Through a show of hands, the BJP won with 22 votes, as against the Congress’ 16. “The resolution motion was passed with 22 to 16. With Speaker supporting the ruling benches,” Parrikar said after the vote.
Responding to allegations that the BJP indulged in “unfair means” to cobble up numbers to retain power, Parrikar said, “We have proved to the people of India that we have the support of 23 (MLAs) on the floor of the House, debunking Digvijaya’s claim that we do not have the numbers. They didn’t have it from the beginning. There was talk that Digvijaya has stepped down as desk in-charge. This happens when you come to Goa only to enjoy and not to work.”
But the floor test was full of drama. Congress leader Vishwajit Rane, who had threatened to walk-out if he didn’t hear from the party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in two days, left the Assembly after taking oath, in turn abstaining from participating in the vote. He, earlier, lashed out at the party leadership for failing to garner the required numbers to form the government when it was clearly in a position to do so following the election result. Very soon, Rane tendered his resignation as an MLA and from the Congress after the trust vote.
“I’m fed up of this party. No decision yet on which platform I’ll contest from. I’m going back to my people to ask them,” Rane told The Indian Express, “I do not expect anything from the Congress. They have destroyed the trust of the people of Goa.
“This is the first step of rebellion against the Congress,” Rane said, “I will not reveal anything now. Congress leaderships’ handling of affairs has led to this condition of Congress.”
Condemning Rane’s decision, the Congress Legislative Party is expected to file a disqualification petition with the protem Speaker. “Rane has not only sullied his own image but also the name of his Rane family,” the Congress Legislative Party said. “The manner in which he walked out and later resigned took it to the meanest level.”
On the other hand, tiffed with MLA Chuchill Alemao for backing the BJP during the trust vote, the National Congress Party issued a show-cause notice to him for violating its discipline without seeking consent of the central leadership. Alemao has seven days to explain his actions, after which the party will take “necessary disciplinary action”, as per its “Anti-Defection Law”.
Parrikar, who is currently a Rajya Sabha MP, will have to contest a bye-election in the next six months.
The Goa government announced that its Budget will be presented on March 24, and the Governor’s address will take place on 23. Parrikar said he will allot portfolios to the cabinet ministers tomorrow. A full-fledged allotment of portfolios will take place in April, after the Budget session is concluded.