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Thursday, November 25, 1999
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Faleiro quits ahead of trust vote
Sardinha is CM, BJP to join govt

PANAJI, Nov 24 (PTI, UNI) — On a day of fast-paced developments, Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro today resigned ahead of trust vote in the Goa Assembly and an 11-member Cabinet headed by Francisco Sardinha and comprising Congress rebels was sworn in ending a week of turmoil in the tiny state.

The Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Sardinha and the new ministers, all of whom are of Cabinet rank, and directed him to prove his majority on the floor of the House within 21 days. Mr Sardinha said he would do so even earlier.

Soon after swearing in, Mr Sardinha told reporters the state BJP, having 10 MLAs favoured joining his ministry but was awaiting a green signal from the party high command while the two-member MGP and an NCP member as also an Independent would support his government from outside.

In Delhi, BJP General Secretary Sangpriya Gautam, in charge of party affairs in Goa, announced the party would join the Sardinha ministry with three members in the interest of stability in the state.

Mr Sardinha had earlier said the BJP would get three berths in his ministry.

Mr Faleiro, in a last-ditch effort to save the Congress government, resigned but the 11 rebels headed by Mr Sardinha spurned offers of a patch-up.

The party position in the 40-member House is: Congress 15, breakaway Congress (Sardinha) 11, BJP 10, MGP 2, NCP 1 and Independent 1.

Among those sworn in as ministers are 11 members of the INC (Sardinha) group, including Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha, Deputy Chief Minister Dayanand Narvekar, Subhash Shirodkar, Mauvin Godinho, Francise d'Souza, Francise Silveira, Alexio Sequira, Somnath Zuarkar, Arecio d'Souza and Venkatesh Desai. The Cabinet has only one woman member Ms Victoria Fernandes.

Lt-Gen (retd), Jacob at a hastily arranged function administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers and the warrant of appointment was read out by the Chief Secretary, Mr Ashok Nath.

A split had occurred in the 21-member Congress Legislature Party (CLP) five days ago when 11 MLAs walked out under the leadership of Francisco Sardinha, who had staked his claim to form an alternate government in the state, with support from 10-member (BJP) and other opposition members.

Health Minister Sardinha and the other members of the breakaway group revolted against what he called the 'single man authority backed by the high command'.

Mr Sardinha told reporters that his government enjoyed support of 25 MLAs in the 40-member House, including 10 of the BJP (who will be in the government), two of the MGP, one of the NCP and one Independent.

Earlier talking to mediapersons, Mr Sardinha said his Cabinet would meet tomorrow to take stock of the situation in the state and examine various problems facing it, including the paucity of finance available at the disposal of the government.

He said, he did not consider the BJP as a politically untouchable party in the state and was quick to add that he had always been a loyal Congressman, but lately because of the 'disgusting affairs' in the party in Goa, he decided to change his path along with several other colleagues.

Mr Sardinha said, when elected to power in June, the Congress had a simple majority and the people of Goa had given mandate to rule. However, Mr Faleiro chose to engineer defections in other parties to muster support for himself and chose to sidetrack those who were loyal to the party. "Hence I choose to part ways", he explained.

He flatly denied having received any proposal to join the BJP and added that the would continue to have his own identity in the state politics.

Mr Sardinha said he was quite confident that the new government would complete its full term of four and half years. He said top priority would be accorded to growth and development of the state with quality administration. Various decisions of the previous government would be reviewed and problem of unemployment would receive special attention.

He said, attempts would be made to minimise controversies and build up public confidence in the government.

He admitted that Congress leaders had made several last minute proposals for reconciliation which were rejected by him and his team. He also said, the MLAs of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), one Independent and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) would back the government raising the tally of its supporters to 25 in the 40-member House.

Mr Sardinha also said, the BJP was never a part of the 'toppling game' and it was the disgust felt by him and his group, with the single man authority of Mr Faleiro backed by the high command, which was responsible for the fall of the government.

Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro submitted his resignation without facing the confidence motion in the 40-member Goa Assembly at 1.30 p.m. here today.

According to Raj Bhavan sources, Mr Faleiro met the Governor one hour before the House was to take up the confidence motion, and submitted his resignation.

Following this Lt-Gen Jacob promptly informed Assembly Speaker Pratapsinh Rane that Mr Faleiro had resigned and gave orders to prorogue the Assembly. He, then, immediately invited Mr Francisco Sardinha, who had already staked his claim, to form the new government in the state.

The Faleiro government had received a severe jolt when Health Minister Francisco Sardinha split the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), along with 11 other dissident MLAs in revolt against ‘single man authority’ in the state affairs.

He then had staked claim to form an alternate government in the state with support from the 10-member BJP, along with other Opposition parties like the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Nationalist Congress Party and an Independent.

Mr Sardinha and his group refused last minute reconciliation with the Congress, who had despatched two senior leaders Govindrao Adik and Ramesh Chennithala from the centre to bring about an understanding between the warring groups.

NEW DELHI: The Congress said on Wednesday that the developments in Goa were yet another proof of the ‘‘BJP’s lust for power’’.

The people of Goa had given a clear mandate for the first time in 15 years, but unfortunately the BJP was not willing to respect this mandate, party spokesperson Ajit Jogi said.

Congress Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro tendered in his resignation as he did not want to be cowed down or blackmailed, Mr Jogi said.

The BJP could indulge in any unprincipled exercise, but the Congress would not follow suit, he added. Earlier, the BJP had ‘‘demonstrated its character in Uttar Pradesh also’’, he alleged.

Referring to a remark of Congress President Sonia Gandhi on saving the Congress government in Goa, Mr Jogi said the party did whatever was possible but it was not ready to compromise on its principles.back

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