M A I N   N E W S

Rane sworn in as Goa CM
Parrikar government dismissed
Shiv Kumar writes from Panjim

A two-member Congress-led government headed by Pratapsinh Rane was sworn in as Goa Chief Minister tonight hours after the BJP-led Parrikar ministry was dismissed by the Governor.

Apart from Rane, Phillipe Neri Roadriguez, an Independent MLA whose controversial eviction from the state Assembly ahead of the motion of confidence sought by Manohar Parrikar sparked pandemonium in the House, was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Jamir signed the order dismissing the government a little over an hour after Assembly Speaker Vishwas Satarkar declared Parrikar victorious in the trust vote.

The trust vote was taken as won by the BJP government amidst pandemonium in the House. With the Congress-led opposition alliance and the ruling BJP-led government evenly matched with 18 MLAs each in the house, the ruling front faced certain defeat since the Speaker cannot vote in normal circumstances.

The Speaker, an MLA of the BJP, first got Independent MLA Philip Neri Rodrigues physically removed from the house under Rule 289 of the Procedures on Conducting the Business of the House. Congress-alliance MLAs opposed the move, saying the rule only applied to members of the house engaging in disorderly conduct. The Speaker refused to explain his moves to Rodrigues and called on the marshals to throw him out.

As the opposition MLAs scuffled with the marshals, the Speaker called the vote to be taken. As the MLAs rushed to their places, Rodrigues was bodily lifted and removed from the house. Even as a few Congress MLAs like Dayanand Narvekar and Luizinho Faleiro shouted for a division of the house, Satarkar called the trust vote taken and declared the government victorious with 18 votes in favour and six against.

The Speaker then adjourned the house and left the premises. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who claimed victory, blamed the Congress MLAs instead for the confusion. ďIf Philip Neri did what he was supposed to do and the Congress MLAs were there in their places, the voting could have been orderly,Ē Parrikar said outside the Speakerís chamber.

Parrikar went on to say that a few Congress MLAs may have been counted as assenting his confidence motion since they were on their feet shouting.

Outside the house, angry Congress MLAs wanted action from Raj Bhavan. ďAn elected MLA was denied the right to vote,Ē Narvekar told journalists outside the assembly.

Earlier in the day, the Speaker heard a disqualification petition against Philip Neri Rodrigues filed by a BJP MLA. The petitioner sought Neriís disqualification since he had joined the BJP in 2002 and had not quit the party. He had, however, contested and won as an Independent. However, with the Governor warning against Neriís disqualification, the Speaker suspended his verdict against the MLA.

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