RS polls make both Faleiros victorious

| 26 July 1999 23:19 IST

Fighting against all the odds, former union minister Eduardo Faleiro today got elected as Goa’s sole Rajya Sabha member, while also establishing the fact once again that the Congress government in Goa is still stable.

In fact the Rajya Sabha election has added one more feather to the Congress cap with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party helping the Congress to win by abstaining. All the four MGP legislators led by former union minister Ramakant Khalap are presently in Delhi, negotiating with the Congress high command to form a coalition government.

In the bargain, Goa Rajiv Congress candidate Bhavanishankar Gadnis, Delhi-based supreme court lawyer, could muster only 12 votes out of 40. GRC leader Wilfred de Souza managed to get 10 BJP votes, besides his two.

AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes as well as Ramesh Chennithala, both high command emissaries, term the victory as a live demonstration of Congress unity, claiming that the news of brewing dissension within the Congress legislature party is totally false.

The fact however still remains that chief minister Luizinho Faleiro is trying to rope in "like-minded and secular" opposition groups into the Congress fold in order to counter the dissension within. The MGP is the second target after admitting both UGDP legislators last month into the ruling party, which had originally only 21 members in the 40-member House.

The chief minister himself has publicly admitted the attempts being made to hatch a conspiracy to dislodge his government by wooing his disgruntled legislators, vying for ministerial positions. The problem has arisen with the cabinet being restricted to only six while its expansion with two or three is also pending.

Besides ministerial berths to the UGDP and the MGP, the Congress has also offered one Lok Sabha seat to Khalap among the two. But the final decision would be taken only after talks with Madhavrao Scindia, in-charge of Goa, in the national capital materialise, states Chennithala.

It is a fact that the Congress has managed to win the Rajya Sabha polls by assuring cabinet berth to every aspirant among eight to nine. But future of the Congress government would ultimately depend upon who among the original Congressmen, former UGDP men and the new coalition partners would be inducted while expanding the cabinet.

Chennithala hopes that the coalition talks would be finalised without delay after which the chief minister could decide about the cabinet expansion, the key issue due with which Faleiro had managed to keep his one-month old government "stable".

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