Congress MLAs threaten to topple Goa govt
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 00:33
Panaji: NCP president Sharad Pawar's directive to Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat to re-induct controversial MLA Fransisco Pacheco in the ministry resulted in a group of 10 Congress legislators tonight threatening to topple its own government in such an eventuality.

The government would be toppled within minutes if Pacheco, a former tourism minister, is sworn-in, the MLAs said at a press conference here.

Asserting that they would not bow down to any diktat even if it is from the party high command, the legislators, led by Public Works Department minister Churchill Alemao, asked Congress general secretary B Hariprasad, in-charge of state affairs, to immediately rush to Goa to resolve the crisis.

Along with Churchill Alemao, Congress MLAs Joaquim Alemao, Agnelo Fernandes, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Fransico Silveira, Atanasio Monserratte, Pandurang Madkaikar, Manohar Asgaonkar, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and Chandrakant Kavlekar are lobbying against Pacheco's induction.

Goa is facing a fresh round of political instability, ever since NCP asked both its ministers ?- Jose Philip D'Souza and Nilkant Halarnkar, to quit from the state cabinet.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, earlier this morning, asked Chief Minister Digamber Kamat to immediately drop the two NCP ministers and swear-in Pacheco.

"Pacheco has a murder case against him. He is also named as an accused in money laundering case. We don't want anyone with tainted character in the cabinet," Alemao said reminding that Congress had dropped its own MLA Dayanand Narvekar when his name figured in the infamous ODI ticket scam.

The 40-seat Goa Legislative Assembly has 20 Congress, 14 BJP, three NCP, two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and one independent legislator.

Alemao said demands of the group were in line with the policy of Congress to not allow tainted persons take over as ministers in the state government.

The minister said that although Pacheco's induction is a look out of NCP, Congress should have a say in it.

"What is the need to destabilise the current cabinet? Why should two ministers be dropped to induct a tainted character?" Alemao asked.

He said that Congress-NCP in Maharashtra removed Ashok Chavan as the chief minister after his name cropped up in the Adarsh scam.

"A similar formula should be adopted in Goa," he added.

Goa education minister Atanasio Monserratte said that the entire group is together because Pacheco's induction would send a wrong signal.

When asked why the presence of Monserratte, who also faces a criminal charge for allegedly attacking a police station, in the state cabinet was not questioned by the group, Alemao refused to comment on it.

Although the group has warned Kamat of toppling his government, Alemao refrained from stating whether they will pull out the support or resign en masse.

"We can even go (to the polls) without NCP in the state as we have enough numbers on our side," the minister said, adding that they were ready to face polls even tomorrow.


First Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 00:33

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