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Goa crisis: Rebel Cong MLAs to meet Speaker

Source: PTI
January 13, 2010 11:37 IST
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Five Congress legislators, who have been lobbying against Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat, have decided to meet assembly Speaker Pratapsingh Rane to urge him to take charge of the top post, sources close to them said on Wednesday.

The legislators are backed by a group of seven legislators including three from the Nationalist Congress Party, two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, one from the United Goans Democratic party and an independent, they said.

The sources said that the five Members of Legislative Assembly will meet assembly Speaker Rane and insist that he should take over as the chief minister of the state in place of Kamat.

"Two options for the chief minister's post will be discussed in the meeting; either Rane or Churchill Alemao. The final decision will be taken after a proper consensus," said a senior legislator.

Congress MLAs including Churchill Alemao, Agnelo Fernandes, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, Fransic Silveira and Pandurang Madkaikar had met at a coffee shop in Panaji on Tuesday to lobby against the chief minister.

With independent legislator Vishwajit Rane, son of Pratapsingh Rane, backing the move along with UGDP's Atanasio Monserratte, the rebellion is expected to gain ground.

"We expect more Congress legislators to join our camp. We don't want to dethrone the government but our move is to replace Kamat," a legislator said.

NCP legislators have preferred to maintain silence about the ongoing crisis. "We will wait and watch whether the Congress legislators are really serious about a leadership change. We don't want them to make a fool of us, by using us to get their agendas pushed through, by blackmailing us about leadership change," a NCP legislator said.

In the 40-member Goa assembly, the Kamat government enjoys the support of 26 MLAs -- Congress' 18 MLAs, NCP's 3, Maharashtra Gomantak Party's 2, United Goa Democratic Party's one and two independents. If the 12 MLAs withdraw support, the Kamat ministry will be reduced to a minority.

Main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has 14 members in the House.

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