Congress MLAs threaten to topple Goa govt

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.

PTI



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

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