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Odds stacked against Parrikar

By Anil Sastry

PANAJI, JAN. 30. After four years of political stability that injected a fresh thrust to developmental activities, there is instability again in the tiny State of Goa. The State had seen 12 Congress Chief Ministers between 1990 and 2000. Manohar Parrikar, who formed a coalition government in October 2000, provided a stable government and went in for a mid-term poll after dissolving the House in June 2002.

His stints coincided with that of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance Government at the Centre. His continuation was in doubt after the United Progressive Alliance came to power at the Centre last year. Then came the change in the Raj Bhavan when Kidar Nath Sahani was removed and S.C. Jamir appointed Governor.

With Saturday's developments, the ruling BJP coalition has been reduced to 17 in the 40-member Assembly, the number it originally had. In June 2002, the Congress had 15 MLAs, the Nationalist Congress Party one, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) two and the United Goan Democratic Party (UGDP) three. There was one independent MLA.

Mr. Parrikar succeeded in roping in MLAs belonging to regional parties and one independent to form the government. While one MLA each from the MGP and the UGDP — Pandurang Madkaikar and Atansio Monserrate — joined the BJP after splitting parties, the UGDP's Micky Pacheco formed his own UGDP (Secular-Micky) to support the Government and another MGP MLA, Ramakrishna Dhavlikar, also became a Minister. In June 2004, Mr. Parrikar sacked Mr. Pacheco and inducted another UDGP MLA, Matanhy Saldanha, as Minister in his place.

Short-lived success

With 19 BJP MLAs, Mr. Parrikar was striving for the magic figure of 21 for a simple majority. In August last year, the Congress MLA, Isidore Fernandes, resigned and was re-elected on the BJP ticket from Poinguinim.

On Thursday last, Mr. Pacheco merged his outfit with the BJP, giving the party the requisite numbers but that was too short-lived.

After the new entrants to the BJP — Atansio alias Babush Monserrate, Mr. Pacheco, Mr. Fernandes and Mr. Madkaikar - resigned from the party on Saturday, and two MLAs of regional parties and one independent have withdrawn their support to Mr. Parrikar, it is presumed that he has to go.

The reason for Mr. Monserratte's resignation was his being stripped of the Town and Country Planning Department by Mr. Parrikar on Friday, while that of Mr. Fernandes was "the humiliation" meted out to his mentor Mr. Monserrate by Mr. Parrikar.

The Chief Minister said he had acted against Mr. Monserrate being fully aware of the political fallout. "Whatever I have done was in the interest of the State as Mr. Monserrate was exceeding his brief and there were complaints of large-scale corruption in his department," he said.

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