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Congress not keen on toppling Goa Government
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 30
With elections in Bihar looming large, the Congress party high command is not keen on dismissing the Manohar Parrikar-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Goa lest it be made into an election issue, according to sources from Panaji.

The state unit of the Congress party is keen on having the Manohar Parrikar government dismissed after four rebel BJP MLAs and two non-BJP Ministers resigned yesterday. The BJP has been reduced to a minority with just 16 MLAs in the 40-member Assembly.

However, party president Sonia Gandhi who met Margaret Alva, AICC General Secretary in charge of Goa, over the weekend is in two minds about letting Governor S.C. Jamir dismiss the state government, sources said.

A television channel quoted Governor S.C. Jamir as saying that he would ask Parrikar to prove his majority in the House at the earliest. However, throughout the day he had been meeting legal experts and bureaucrats to ascertain their views on the subject.

On Sunday, Parrikar received a major boost when Tourism Minister Matanhy Saldanha cut short his visit to Spain and returned home to back his government. Saldanha’s United Goans Democratic Party has, however, decided to join a Congress-led government. UGDP president Radharao Gracias warned that Saldanha would be disqualified under the new anti-defection law if he voted with Parrikar. However, sources say, Saldanha being the lone MLA from the party can easily engineer a split.

On Sunday, Congress president Luizinho Faleiro presented a letter from the UGDP to the Governor extending support to his party.

As things stand, the BJP has 17 MLAs while the Congress would have 15. One MLA each from the NCP and the MGP and an Independent are also backing the Congress. However, should Saldanha vote for the BJP in the House, it would result in a tie.

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