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Merger boosts BJP position in Goa House

Sandesh Prabhudesai in Panaji | January 28, 2005 01:19 IST

In a major political development in Goa, former tourism minister Micky Pacheco joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday.

In another development on the same day, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar stripped cabinet minister Atanasio Monserratte of the lucrative town and country planning ministry amidst reports that all was not well between the duo.

Political circles in the capital were abuzz following the news that Pacheco had merged his party with the BJP, adding one more legislator to the ruling stables.

With this, the ruling party's strength has increased to 21 in the 40-member house.

Both these actions are being viewed as an offensive launched by Parrikar against attempts to topple his two-and-a-half-year old government.

Pacheco, who was removed as minister in the same government in June last year, has now joined the saffron bandwagon.

Pacheco has merged his party, the United Goans Democratic Party (Secular), with the BJP to circumvent provisions of the new anti-defection act.

After getting elected on a UGDP ticket in May 2002, he split from the party to join the saffron camp, along with party colleague Monserette.

However, he changed his decision in the last minute and formed UGDP (Secular).

Later, finding fault with his style of functioning, Parrikar removed Pacheco from the Cabinet and replaced him with Tourism Minister Mathany Saldhana of the UGDP.

After voting against the ruling coalition government over six months, Pacheco joined the saffron party on Thursday.

Goa BJP chief Rajendra Arlekar claimed that Micky had joined the party 'unconditionally.'

With inputs from PTI.

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