M A I N   N E W S

Goa Governor’s report led  to Central rule
Shiv Kumar writes from Panjim

GOA Governor S.C. Jamir’s report to the Union Home Ministry on the vote of confidence in Goa swayed the Central Government’s decision to impose President’s rule in the state.

According to sources here, the Congress here had conveyed to the leadership that at least two BJP MLAs would resign and thereby help Mr Pratapsinh Rane to win the trust vote.

Having been assured by the central leadership, Mr Rane was allowed to go ahead with the trust vote.

However, pro-tem Speaker Fransisco Sardinha’s decision to disallow the lone legislator of the United Goans Democratic Party Matanhy Saldanha to vote proved to be the downfall of the Rane government. The Governor sent a report to the Union Home Ministry, recommending President’s rule.

The BJP which hit the streets of Goa in protest was celebrating.

Most BJP leaders spent much of the afternoon outside Raj Bhavan where they shouted slogans accusing Governor S.C. Jamir of murdering democracy.

Today’s session lasted barely seven minutes. Pro-tem Speaker Fransisco Sardinha told the assembled House that he had admitted a petition by Congress MLA Jitendra Deshprabhu seeking disqualification of the lone United Goans Democratic Party MLA Matanhy Saldanha. Mr Sardinha said he was granting interim relief to Mr Deshprabhu by disallowing Mr Saldanha to vote.

As BJP MLAs rushed before the Speaker, Mr Sardinha read out the motion and called for voting by division. With both the opposition BJP and the ruling Congress tied 16 each in the truncated House, the Speaker used his casting vote to save the government.

The vote of Mr Saldanha, who stood up along with other BJP MLAs to oppose the motion, was not counted.

“Mr Rane should be immediately dismissed” former BJP Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said. “The Speaker violated the Governor’s orders by conducting business other than the motion of the vote of confidence. By disallowing Mr Matanhy Saldanha to vote, the pro-tem Speaker also conducted other business,” Mr Parrikar said.

“Only following business be considered and dealt with by the House in its session summoned by him (the Governor) to be held at 2.30 p.m. on March 4 the motion seeking vote of confidence by Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane,” Secretary to Mr Jamir said in a letter written to former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today.

It was the third trust vote in a little more than a month.

BJP leaders felt that the Congress could use the Goa precedent to win in Jharkhand as well.

“Nothing prevents the pro-tem Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly to disqualify a few Independent MLAs backing the NDA to let the government there win,” Mr Parrikar said here.

Mr Sardinha later told reporters that he had decided against letting Independent MLA and Deputy CM Filipe Neri Rodrigues to vote today. Mr Rodrigues was disqualified by Sardinha’s predecessor, Mr Vishwas Satarkar, who himself then resigned.

Mr Rodrigues had appealed for a stay on the execution of the former Speaker’s order so that he could vote today.


Patil defends decision on Goa
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 4
Wilting under pressure and criticism from several quarters, the Congress-led UPA today recommended imposition of President’s rule in Goa.

The Assembly will be kept under suspended animation, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said late this evening.

These decisions were taken at a hurriedly-called meeting of the Union Cabinet here, three hours after Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane won a controversial vote of confidence.

The Cabinet has recommended to the President that the state be brought under Central rule under Article 356 of the constitution.

Mr Patil said that the Centre was not happy with what has happened in the Assembly today and has taken suo-motu action without waiting for the Governor’s report.

“What has happened in the Assembly today is not acceptable to us. It is not proper to have one member not to vote. This is exactly what has been done by the previous (BJP) government,” Mr Patil said.

“If the previous government’s decision was wrong, this was also wrong,” Mr Patil said.

Today’s decision brings the curtain down on the month-long confusion and uncertainty in Goa following the ouster of the BJP Government under similar controversial circumstances.

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