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Goa again, 3 ministers quit
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 16
The seven-month old Digambar Kamat government in Goa is in the throes of yet another crisis with four supporting MLAs withdrawing support to it.

The revolt led by health minister and Independent MLA Vishwajit Rane, son of speaker Pratapsinh Rane, has the support of the three-member Nationalist Congress Party in the state Assembly.

Vishwajit Rane and two NCP ministers, tourism minister Mickey Pachecho and Jose Philip along with another fellow party MLA N.Halarnkar said they were withdrawing support to the government. While they had threatened to formally withdraw support tomorrow, senior Congress party leaders from Delhi were working hard to keep the rebels happy.

The rebels said they would meet with the Congress partyís emissary before taking any further decision.

The discontent, which was simmering for the past three weeks, came to a head this afternoon when Kamat suddenly called for the Assembly to be adjourned just before it was to take up the vote on the Financial Appropriations Bill 2008. Kamat cited an accident, which killed 11persons as an excuse to call for the House to be adjourned.

According to sources in Goa, the crisis reached to the boiling point after health minister Vishwajeet Rane teamed up with Independent Atnasio Monserrate and Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco of the Save Goa Regional Front to pull down the government.

Though the three MLAs were present in the house, when the Appropriations Bill was to be taken up, the absence of two ruling party MLAs Shyam Satardekar and Gurudas Gawas sparked off complete speculation. It was rumoured that the two had joined the three rebels to topple the government. Earlier, the rebels had reportedly wooed the three MLAs from the Nationalist Congress Party, which was backing the government. However sources say, the NCPís national leadership intervened and attempted to prevent the partyís Goa MLAs from joining in the rebellion. This though did not work.

There was hectic drama today in the Assembly, when the House was supposed to convene following the afternoon recess. Negotiations were on in the CMís chambers, but nothing was conclusive. When the house reconvened, the CM called for an adjournment citing the accident. He then abruptly left the House.

The Digambar Kamat government in Goa enjoys a wafer-thin majority. In the House of 40, the ruling coalition has 23 members. While the Congress has 16 MLAs, ally NCP has three. Two MLAs from the regional Save Goa Front and two independents are also part of the ruling front.

The BJP had 14 MLAs and another regional outfit, the regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party had two MLAs.

Resentment was brewing against Digambar Kamat ever since he scrapped the Special Economic Zones on New Yearís Eve. A large number of MLAs from the ruling front with links to the real estate lobby had since been calling for Kamatís scalp.

But with Kamatís popularity soaring as a result of the SEZs getting scrapped, the rebels were using the Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat outside Panjim to hit out at the CM.

Kamatís opponents in the government say the IT habitat must be scrapped as well. They had also levelled a number of allegations against Narvekar. Kamat told reporters that his government was absolutely safe. ďWait and see till tomorrow,Ē he said.

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