Goa Chief Minister Drops Deputy After 2 am Switch By Lawmakers: 10 Points

Goa government formation: Michael Lobo, the officiating Speaker, said: "See, the job of a Speaker is 24 hours."

Goa: Two of the three lawmakers of MGP on Tuesday night merged their party with the BJP

New Delhi/Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant today dropped his deputy Sudin Dhavalikar, hours after two lawmakers of ally MGP merged the party with the ruling BJP in another late-night political twist in the tiny seaside state. Mr Dhavalikar, the third lawmaker of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), had stayed away from the 2 am defection that was sanctioned by acting Speaker Micheal Lobo. The BJP now has 14 lawmakers in the 36-member assembly.

Here's your 10-point cheat sheet to this important story:

  1. "I have dropped Sudin Dhavalikar from the cabinet. The decision on filling up the vacant seat will be taken very soon," the Chief Minister told PTI. Goa Governor Mridula Sinha has accepted the Chief Minister's recommendation.

  2. Hitting out at the BJP, Sudin Dhavalikar said, "People are stunned the way - in the middle of the night - chowkidars conducted dacoity on MGP. People are watching and they will consider their course of action."

  3. Earlier, the MGP's Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar had given a letter to merge their legislature party with the BJP to the Speaker at 1:45 am. The letter was not signed by Sudin Dhavalikar, who became deputy Chief Minister last week as part of an agreement with the BJP.

  4. The legislators broke away from the MGP and formed a group, MGP (two) on Tuesday. Since two out of the three members have merged with the BJP, they are saved from the anti-defection law, which makes it mandatory for two-thirds of a party to break away in case of a split.

  5. Criticised for facilitating the late-night defection, Michael Lobo, the officiating Speaker, said: "See, the job of a Speaker is 24 hours. When an MLA wants to meet the Speaker, he has to be available. Both MLAs called me and wanted to meet me, in order to merge with the BJP. I had to meet them."

  6. The BJP's strength in the house has now gone from 12 to 14, which brings the party on par with the opposition Congress and gives it more stability. The Congress had emerged the single-largest party in the 2017 Goa polls but the BJP had taken power with help from the MGP and the Goa Forward Party.

  7. Both the BJP allies last week raised the stakes to continue their support after the death of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, a popular Goa politician.

  8. The MGP has been an alliance partner of the BJP in Goa since 2012. Its breakaway lawmakers said they decided on Tuesday evening to merge their faction with the BJP in the interest of the people. "People from my constituency wanted that I should join BJP. We were also resigned to the fact that we could not take the MGP forward in the state," said Deepak Pauskar.

  9. The MGP split came hours after president Dipak Dhavalikar threatened to withdraw from the BJP-led government citing conspiracy.

  10. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant won his floor test last week with the support of 20 lawmakers of the BJP, MGP, Goa Forward and independents. The assembly is four short after the death of two members and the resignation of two Congress lawmakers.

(With agency inputs)

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