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Congress mulls Central rule in Goa
Shiv Kumar writes from Panjim

THE Congress leadership is coming around to the view that the Goa Assembly be placed under suspended animation and President’s rule imposed in the state.

According to well-placed sources here, party leaders from Delhi have already sounded out Governor S.C. Jamir about placing the Goa assembly in suspended animation. The controversy over the formation of the government in Jharkhand and the ruckus raised by the National Democratic Alliance in Parliament have contributed to this rethink, the sources say.

Congress leaders say, the Assembly may be reconvened after the election of the five former BJP MLAs, who defected to the Congress.

The Congress leadership was advised by experts that the Pratapsinh Rane Government could win tomorrow’s trust vote only with the help of pro-tem Speaker Fransisco Sardinha.

The Speaker has already admitted a disqualification petition against United Goans’ Democratic Party’s lone MLA Matanhy Saldanha and has begun hearings in the matter.

While the disqualification of Mr Saldanha appears to be a near certainty, the Speaker is also hearing a petition by Deputy Chief Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues, who has prayed for a stay on the execution of his own disqualification by former Speaker Vishwas Satarkar.

Mr Rane needs the Speaker’s help to win since both the Congress and the opposition BJP have 17 MLAs each. The Speaker himself cannot vote in normal circumstances which gives the BJP an advantage.

Former BJP Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar himself raised the pitch and threatened to hit the streets if Mr Rane used the Speaker’s office to win the trust vote.

Mr Parrikar announced here that all BJP MLAs would resign from the Assembly if Mr Rane won the trust vote with the Speaker’s help.

Congress sources say such a move would prove to be a major face saver for Mr Parrikar, whose clean image has taken a beating in Goa of late.


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