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As BJP Becomes Largest Party in Goa, CM Pramod Sawant Says Will Retain Allies

The strength of the Assembly was restored to original 40 Tuesday after four MLAs, who won recently-held byelections, took oath.

PTI

Updated:May 28, 2019, 4:32 PM IST
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As BJP Becomes Largest Party in Goa, CM Pramod Sawant Says Will Retain Allies
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
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Panaji: On a day his party's strength in the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly increased to 17, making it the single largest party, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he would not drop any of the alliance partners.

The strength of the Assembly was restored to original 40 Tuesday after four MLAs, who won recently-held byelections, took oath.

In the new setting, the BJP has 17 MLAs, reversing the 2017 position when the saffron party had won 13 seats and the Congress 17 in the assembly elections.

Acting Speaker Michael Lobo administered the oath to the MLAs--three from the BJP and one from the Congress.

The legislators who took oath are Subhash Shirodkar, Dayanand Sopte and Joshua D'Silva--all from the BJP, and Atanasio Monserratte of the Congress.

All of them got elected in the bypolls held to four seats, results for which were announced on May 23.

Byelections to Shiroda and Mandrem were held due to defection of Shirodkar and Sopte to the BJP last year. Panaji and Mapusa seats fell vacant due to the death of sitting MLAs--chief minister Manohar Parrikar and former deputy chief minister Francis D'Souza, respectively.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was amongst the dignitaries who attended the swearing-in ceremony held at the Assembly complex.

The 17 MLAs of the BJP included the three legislators who got elected in the bypolls and Vishwajit Rane who had switched loyalty from the Congress after the 2017 poll

results. The Congress now has 15 members.

The BJP ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) has three MLAs while another coalition partner Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) has one MLA. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has one legislator, while rest three are Independents.

The Pramod Sawant government is supported by the GFP, MGP and Independents. Though the Congress had emerged as the single largest party in 2017, the BJP quickly cobbled up a coalition to form a government under late Parrikar.

The chief minister said his government would not drop any of the alliance partners though his party's strength has increased on the floor of the House.

"The state government would complete its tenure along with the alliance partners, including the Goa Forward Party and Independents," he said.

"If the MGP continues to give unconditional support to the government, why should I ask them to withdraw it?" Sawant asked.

During the recently-held Lok Sabha polls, the MGP had supported the Congress after Sawant dropped its lone MLA Sudin Dhavalikar from the Cabinet.

Two MLAs of the MGP Babu Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pawaskar had split from the party to join the BJP. Sawant said the Cabinet meeting would be held on June 4, which would be his first since he took oath when the model code of conduct was in place for the Lok Sabha polls.

The chief minister said he would soon allot additional portfolios to his cabinet colleagues.

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