February 19, 2021 3:19:02 am
Two of the 10 Goa MLAs who defected to BJP from Congress in July 2019 after the Assembly polls have filed an affidavit in Supreme Court claiming that state Congress chief Girish Chodankar has no locus standi to file a petition since the Congress “has ceased to exist” in Goa Assembly and has “merged in the BJP”.
Clafasio Dias and Wilfred D’sa, two of the 10 Congress MLAs who joined BJP in 2019, filed a counter-affidavit in Chodankar’s petition seeking disqualification of the 10 legislators , and his disqualification petition filed before the Goa Assembly Speaker.
The two MLAs have claimed that after 10 of Congress’s 15 MLAs joined BJP – making it two-third of the party’s legislators – the five that remain are Independent MLAs.
The affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on February 8, stated, “…the INC being merged with the BJP and the remaining 5 MLAs being independent MLA’s, the Petitioner has no locus standi to file the present petition in his capacity as President of the party and hence, the petition is liable to be dismissed”.
“The Speaker is only concerned with the legislative party and not the political party, which is comprised of elected members of the Legislative Assembly. A political party is relevant only to an extent of determining total number of elected members of that party who constitute legislative party of the political party in the Legislative Assembly,” their affidavit stated.
After the Assembly polls in Goa, the 10 MLAs joined the BJP on July 10, 2019. Chodankar had filed a disqualification petition before the Speaker on August 8, 2019. Pursuant to directions of the Supreme Court, the Speaker is expected to decide the disqualification petition on February 26