2 MGP MLAs in Goa split from party, join BJP

Panaji: Two out of the three Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLAs in Goa Wednesday merged their party’s legislature wing with the BJP.

Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Prabhu Pauskar submitted the letter to Speaker Michael Lobo along with chief minister Pramod Sawant and state party president Vinay Tendulkar. The move will also bring the BJP’s numbers in the Goa Assembly to 14, the same as that of the Congress.

Sudin Dhavalikar, the third Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) legislator, has not signed the letter.

As two out of the three MLAs have merged the legislature wing, they are saved from inviting anti-defection law, which makes it mandatory that two-third of the strength should agree for merger.

Lobo said that he received the letter at 1:45 am from Ajgaonkar and Pawaskar for merging the MGP with the BJP.

In absence of a full-time speaker, due to the resignation of Pramod Sawant who was sworn in as chief minister, Lobo is officiating on the chair.

With the support of the two MLAs, the BJP’s numbers in the 36-seat Goa assembly has gone up to 14.

Both the MLAs have signed the letter merging the MGP legislature wing with the BJP, Lobo said.

MGP is an ally of the BJP in the Sawant-led government with all the three MLAs supporting the chief minister along with legislators from the Goa Forward Party and Independents.

Sawant, who faced floor test last week after the demise on Manohar Parrikar, was supported by 20 MLAs as against 15 from opposition.

Speaking of their decision to merge with the BJP, Pauskar blamed the party’s central committee for keeping them out of loop even on crucial matters.

“Both Babu Manohar Ajgaonkar and I were never called to a meeting of the central committee. We were never a part of the decision-making process in the MGP. Whatever ministry I am given by the Chief Minister I will be happy with it. MGP party has split. The decision to drop will be taken, and after that, there will be a swearing-in,” said Pauskar who now expects to be sworn in as a minister.