Some legislators and ministers in the Congress-led coalition government in Goa are unhappy with the way the administration is being run and a few are even tentatively seeking a change of leadership. But the Congress has denied any discontentment.
State Revenue Minister Jose Philip D’Souza, Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco and Nilkant Halarnkar from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Transport Minister Sudin Dhavlikar and his brother Deepak of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane (independent) and Education Minister Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate have begun calling themselves the ‘G 7’ (group of 7), whose purported aim, as described by the group’s spokesperson Monserrate, was “to demand for streamlining of administration and effective leadership” from the Congress central high command.
“Files are not being cleared in time. There are no decisions being taken. Ask the people on the streets what is wrong with the government and they will tell you,” said Monserrate.
Pandurang Madkaikar, a former transport minister and Congress legislator, is the only person outside the group, categorically demanding that Chief Minister Digambar Kamat be asked to step down and a new chief minister be installed.
“We are not happy with the way things are going. We are having another meeting on Saturday. We want change,” Madkaikar told IANS. No other legislator from the group of seven has directly demanded that Kamat be dropped as chief minister.
However, members of the group have taken heart from recent statements to the media by Speaker and former chief minister Pratapsing Rane and public works department minister Churchill Alemao who have indicated that they will not mind taking the top political slot in the state.
While Speaker Rane has said that he would “take up any assignment that my party leaders give me”, Alemao, also a former chief minister said that he too had been approached by the group.
“Though I have been approached by some legislators for the hot post, I would go by the decision of the high command,” Alemao said.
Speaking to IANS from Delhi, B.K. Hariprasad, All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary in charge of the Goa desk, has denied reports of any disgruntlement in the coalition government in Goa.
“We have not received any reports of disgruntlement in Goa. These stories are baseless,” Hariprasad said.
Goa has been known for throwing up several political wrangles, resulting in repeated regime changes over the last couple of decades. The state has seen 17 chief ministers between 1990 and 2007.
Goa’s 40-member unicameral legislative assembly comprises 18 legislators from the Congress and 14 from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Others are NCP (3), Maharashtra Gomantak Party (2), unattached United Goan Democratic Party (1) and two independent legislators.
–Indo-Asian News Service