In a fresh bid to pressure the BJP-led coalition government in Goa, several of whose ministers have been hospitalised due to severe ailments, 16 Congress MLAs on Friday issued notice to the State legislature secretary demanding removal of Speaker Pramod Sawant.
The notice, which is signed by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said: "We the undersigned MLAs of Goa do hereby propose to move the following motion for removal of Dr Pramod Sawant as Speaker of legislative assembly of Goa on expiry of 14-day notice period."
The notice was filed under rule 243 of the rules of procedure and conduct of business of the Goa legislative assembly read with article 179(C) of the Constitution.
The move comes at a time when the BJP-led coalition government is hamstrung by the absence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the ruling coalition is keen to avoid a test on the floor of the House.
While the motion moved by the Congress to remove the Speaker would facilitate a floor test, an Assembly session for it can be summoned by the Governor.
While the BJP has 14 MLAs, three legislators - Mr Parrikar, Urban Development Minister Francis D'Souza and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar -- are suffering from severe ailments, which puts their appearance in the state legislative assembly in case of a vote in doubt.
Ever since Mr Parrikar's hospitalisation at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences last week, its ten allies, which includes three MLAs each from the Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and four Independent legislators have stepped up pressure on them, seeking bigger portfolios.
Goa Forward's Vijai Sardesai as well as MGP's Sudin Dhavalikar have also hinted about their aspirations for the Chief Minister's post in Mr Parrikar's absence, which has put the BJP on the back foot.
The ruling coalition had to postpone its decision to replace Manohar Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, with a new CM in order to avoid a mandatory floor test which is required to ascertain whether the Chief Minister has the confidence of the House.
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