Mid-term polls in Goa ?

| 28 November 2000 22:49 IST

Merely one month has passed and the talk of toppling the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Goa - the third one in 11 months - has already begun even among the top politicians, including chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

"If my government falls, there would be mid-term elections", says Parrikar. He has once again made it clear that the BJP would prefer going home rather than continuing as the opposition.

After getting elected as the main opposition with 10 legislators in the 40-member House in June last year, he has now become the third chief minister of the tiny tourist state by admitting 10 defectors from the Congress, which had people's mandate to rule.

Earlier, the BJP had participated in the coalition government led by Francisco Sardinha, who had split in last November with 10 others by toppling four-month old Congress government with Goa PCC president Luizinho Faleiro as the chief minister.

Though the weakened Congress is still opposed to readmit any defector (almost 19 out of 25 are now out), Sardinha has managed to convince the high command to readmit them back into the party fold while also roping in their colleagues who are now in the BJP.

"The whole organisation from block level to the state PCC as well as the CLP is unanimously opposed to anybody's homecoming", says Faleiro, the state PCC chief, whose dictatorial attitude was the excuse taken by all the defectors to quit the party in three stages.

In fact even Faleiro has appealed to the party workers to get prepared for mid-term polls by March next year while predicting downfall of the BJP government. The Faleiro camp also feels no point in forming alternate government in such a case.

"Dissolution is just not possible hence majority of the MLAs would prefer some other alternative than fresh polls within less than two years", says Dr Wilfred de Souza, the former chief minister and sole MLA of the Nationalist Congress Party.

Though Parrikar feels that the existing BJP government was the last viable alternative Goa was left with, Dr de Souza even does not rule out reunification of the Congress including himself. "That would be wonderful if we have to counter the BJP", he says.

As the BJP's recommendation to dissolve the House may not hold water since the demand would be made only after it is thrown into minority, the saffron party may simply resign and go home before it actually happens by creating conditions for the President's Rule to be imposed.

Though the chief minister claims that there is a constitutional way out for it, Dr de Souza counters it asking how the BJP would seek Parliamentary approval for it when it has no majority in the Rajya Sabha. "Bihar may then just repeat", he quips.

Though 'Congressmen at heart' like de Souza feel that the whole exercise could help the Congress to strengthen if the BJP is allowed to rule for little longer, politicians here have also started preparing minds of their workers for yet another mid-term election, not knowing whether that would bring stability.

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