Cong to contest Sp/Dy Sp elections; now Who will vote for Whom?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 09 January 2016 19:29 IST

The winter session of the Goa Assembly may finally see some political drama happening as the opposition Congress has decided to cross swords with the mighty ruling coalition by contesting elections for the posts of the speaker and the deputy speaker.

The speaker’s post had fallen vacant with former speaker Rajendra Arlekar quitting the post to join the cabinet.

The 21-memebr ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to elevate Deputy Speaker Anant Shet to the speaker’s post.

St Andre MLA Vishnu Wagh would the candidate for the deputy speaker’s post.

Congress, the single largest opposition party but with only 8 members in the 40-memebr House, had initially decided not to contest.

Opposition leader Pratapsing Rane had expressed reluctance over contesting since they do not have the numbers.

“We will contest both the elections and the candidates would be decided soon”, spokesperson of the Congress Legislature Party Alex Reginald Lourenco said today.

He made the announcement while joining the press conference of three independents, led by Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai, little later.

Sardesai was joined by Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte and Bicholim MLA Naresh Sawal.

“We should not leave a single opportunity to come together and fight unitedly”, said Sardesai, who says it is ‘losing a winning battle’.

WHO LOSES WHAT BATTLE?

The battle-lines are drawn clearly with the ruling coalition set to win both the elections.

But the elections may throw light on the inner contradictions, which have developed in the last four years, damaging both the camps – ruling as well as the opposition.

When came to power in 2012, the 21-memebr BJP had support of three-member MGP, two-member GVP and four independents, including fisheries minister Avertano Furtado (Navelim) and Velim MLA Benjamin Silva.

Making it a grand total of 30 against mere 10% opposition of 9 from the Congress and independent MLA Vijai Sardesai, situation is no more the same after four years.

The Congress however is already been reduced to 8 members with Babush Monseratte being expelled from the party, while Dabolim MLA Mauvin Godinho openly hobnobbing with the ruling BJP.

If Congress issues a whip to vote in favour of the party, which every party normally does, Mauvin will have to take a stand - abstain from voting or fly a saffron flag in the House.

In a changing situation, it also needs to be seen whom Babush votes for in the background of forthcoming civil poll of Panaji.

Though Babush and Mauvin have distanced from the opposition, independents like Khaunte and Sawal have already jumped on ‘Vijai’s Baand’ to float a new regional party.

The election may also throw up a challenge before the Goa Vikas Party, whose leader Mickky Pacheco has waged an open war with the BJP after serving a jail sentence of over four months.

If he decides to vote against, his party colleague Caitu Silva of Benaulim also needs to take a call as he has preferred not to sour his relation with the ruling coalition.

The in-House elections thus may begin the ball of forthcoming Assembly election rolling, thanks to new environment minister Rajendra Arlekar, who created the ‘new environment’ to display the inner political contradictions…

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