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MGP moves Goa bench of Bombay HC against former Congress MLAs who joined BJP

Goa leaders Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte had last month resigned from the opposition Congress and also from the state assembly to join the ruling BJP.

November 20, 2018 / 07:01 PM IST

The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) has moved the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court seeking disqualification of two former Congress MLAs, who quit the state assembly and joined the BJP, from contesting any fresh election.

The MGP, an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Goa government, in its petition claimed that owing to the ill health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and two other former ministers, the political situation in the state was "fluid".

Goa leaders Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte had last month resigned from the opposition Congress and also from the state assembly to join the ruling BJP.

Shirodkar is currently chairman of the state-run Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Sopte heads the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC).

MGP leaders Satyawan Palkar and Vikas Prabhu filed the petition before the high court bench here on Monday, urging it to quash and set aside the Goa assembly speaker's order of October 16, wherein resignations of Shirodkar and Sopte were accepted.

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"After the government formation (in March 2017), Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has remained terminally ill and was hospitalised abroad, in New Delhi and in Goa Medical College as well," the petition mentioned.

"Two other (former) ministers Francisco D'Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar have also remained terminally ill and hospitalised for almost a year," it said.

Another assembly member Jose Luis Carlose Almeida, representing the Vasco constituency on the BJP's ticket, is also ill, it said.

"With the sickness of the aforesaid elected representatives, the political situation in Goa continued to be fluid," the petition said.

With the Congress staking claim to form the government after approaching the higher constitutional authorities, the BJP made moves to effect and manage defections in the opposition party, the petitioners said.

"With this game plan, the BJP lured the respondents 5 and 6 (Shirodkar and Sopte) to resign from their assembly membership as well as from the Congress," the petition alleged.

The petitioners urged the high court to direct the Election Commission to make recommendations to the government and the law commission to amend the anti-defection law.

They said lawmakers who resign without justifiable reasons should be disqualified from contesting fresh elections and accepting any public post for a period of six years.

The petitioners also demanded that Shirodkar and Sopte be stopped from contesting bypoll from the constituencies which they had represented in the 2017 state polls.

They said the two respondents should be restrained from occupying any office of profit in the government till the term of the present assembly ends.

Shirodkar and Sopte should also be refrained from functioning on their posts in the EDC and GTDC as well as from accepting any remuneration from these corporations, the petitioners said.

The High Court is likely to take up the petition in due course.
PTI
first published: Nov 20, 2018 05:58 pm

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