The Goa unit of the BJP pulled off a stunning coup late last night. It weaned away 2 of the 3 Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Legislative Party (MGP) MLAs in Goa and they joined the BJP overnight. Since two thirds of the party had resigned and joined a new party, anti defection laws did not apply to the MLAs and they did not have to resign from their seats
The 2 MLAs who switched over are Tourism Minister Manohar “Babu” Azgaonkar and Deepak Pawooskar. With their entry, it is expected that the now lone remaining MGP MLA, Deputy CM Sudin Dhavlikar will be dropped from the Government and Deepak Pawooskar would be inducted into the Government. The exercise happened in the presence of Goa CM Pramod Sawant and acting speaker Michael Lobo. Soon after, Goa BJP state chief Vinay Tendulkar also met the duo.
The main question which would come to anyone’s mind: Why did BJP break an “ally’s party”? There are many reasons for this.
Relations between BJP and MGP have been strained for many months. Late last year, few Congress MLAs in Goa had resigned and had planned to recontest on BJP tickets. This was not a good situation for MGP as a stronger BJP meant MGP’s position was weaker. Hence in a very odd move the “ally MGP” filed a petition in the High Court to restrain these MLAs from recontesting. Of course, the High Court threw the petition out.
Next, once BJP announced the Shiroda seat would be contested by Subhas Shiridkar, who had switched over from Congress, the MGP too announced that they too would contest the Shiroda seat. This was in complete contrast to coalition dharma.
Yesterday was said to be the last day for MGP to back off from the contest, but even yesterday, Dipak Dhavlikar, brother of Sudin Dhavlikar was adamant on contesting against the BJP.
This move of indiscipline probably forces BJP to display its strength and they managed to pry away 2 MGP MLAs.
Besides this, all was not well within MGP as well. Last week, after Parrikar’s demise, as the calculations for the new government were on, the MGP had reportedly passed a resolution to secure 3 cabinet berths for all 3 MLAs. But finally, only 2 MGP MLAs were given ministries, leaving Pawooskar in the cold.
It was rumoured that these were the machinations of the Dhavlikar brothers, and even then, it was suspected that BJP had wooed the 2 MGP MLAs. More recently, MGP expelled their current general secretary former MLA Lavoo Mamlatdar for 6 years, for “anti-party activities”.