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Goa: A new twist to the political drama

Sandesh Prabhudesai in Panaji | February 02, 2005 12:41 IST

In a sudden twist to the political drama in Goa, assembly Speaker Vishwas Satarkar on Wednesday took up the hearing on a petition seeking the disqualification of an independent legislator.

The petition, filed by Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Rajesh Patnekar on January 29, claims that Philip Neri Rodrigues had joined the ruling BJP in October 2002.

As per the provisions of the Anti-Defection Act, independent legislators can be disqualified if they joined any political party.

Rodrigues had precipitated the present crisis by withdrawing support to the Parrikar government along with another alliance partner.

The hearing of the petition was taken up at 1000 IST. The petition reportedly claimed that Rodrigues was associating with political parties.

However, during the hearing, the speaker took up another petition filed by another BJP MLA Sadanand Shet Tanavade on Tuesday, claiming that Rodrigues had joined the BJP.

In response, the counsels of Rodrigues asked for more time, and the speaker granted them time till 12 noon.

If Rodrigues, a former minister in the government, is disqualified, the opposition's strength would be reduced to 17, the same as that of the ruling coalition.

In case of a tie, the speaker, exercising his right to cast a vote, could save the Parrikar government by voting in favour of the trust vote.

The trust vote is scheduled to be taken up at 1430 IST.

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