MGP files petition against two former MLAs seeking disqualification from Goa Assembly

Panaji, May 3 (IANS) Former deputy Chief Minister and lone MGP MLA Sudin Dhavalikar on Friday filed a petition before the acting Speaker of the Goa state legislative assembly seeking disqualification of two former party MLAs, who split from the regional party and joined the BJP on March 27.

Dhavalikar claimed that the “bedroom merger” of two MGP MLAs Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar in the absence of a formal merger of the MGP into the BJP attracts grounds for disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

“The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India does not postulate a ‘bedroom merger’ by which the members of the legislature party would meet at a bedroom at midnight and claim that a merger has taken place even of the original political party,” Dhavalikar in his petition filed with the office of the Speaker on Friday.

In midnight drama leading to March 27, two MLAs from the MGP, Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar, split from the party, formed a separate legislative unit and merged it into the BJP.

READ l 2 MGP Lawmakers split to merge with BJP in Goa; Mid-Night Development fumes Congress

The merger, as approved by acting Speaker Michael Lobo, reduced the strength of the MGP in the Goa assembly to one MLA, Sudin Dhavalikar, who was dropped from the state cabinet by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, hours after the development.

Ajgaonkar was subsequently appointed deputy Chief Minister, while Pauskar was inducted into the state cabinet as Public Works Development Minister.

As a result of the development, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party broke away from the BJP-led coalition alliance and contested the April 23 round of Parliamentary elections and three assembly by-polls against the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Dhavalikar in his petition said the MGP, as a party, had not taken any resolution to merge with the BJP and the two MLAs had voluntarily resigned from the regional party, thus attracting disqualification.

READ: MGP withdraws support to BJP in Goa; to back Congress Candidates in Lok Sabha Polls 2019

“The merger of the legislature party in the absence of merger of the original political party, not being contemplated under the 10th Schedule clearly attracts disqualification on grounds of defections, since by this act, the respondents have voluntarily given up membership of their original political party,” the petition said.

The difference between MGP and BJP emerged following the death of Incumbent CM Manohar Parrikar. MGP once an ally of Congress from 2007 to 2012 has been in partner with BJP since 2012.

MGP ahead of the national elections 2019 announced its support to Congress Candidates in Goa. It also announced to withdraw its support to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

BJP in the assembly has 14 MLAs (Including two MGP who split to join the saffron party), while it has a support of 3 MLAs each from Goa Forward Party and Independent in 36 member assembly.

The Half-way mark is 19.

While the Opposition includes Congress’s 12, one from Nationalist Congress Party legislator and now one MGP lawmaker.

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