The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been pitted against the collective strength of Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Goa Forward party – the last one being supporter of the state BJP-led government – over the issue of erecting the statue of Jack de Sequeira, in the precincts of the Goa assembly complex, is seriously considering disciplinary action against those of its MLAs, who will support related demand during the forthcoming budget session of the assembly.
The state unit of the BJP, which has already passed a resolution objecting building of any more statues in the state assembly complex, has some of its own MLAs supporting the related demand.
The BJP sources revealed that although the party would not like to issue a whip before the budget session, barring its MLAs from supporting the particular demand in the House, it may go for “some disciplinary action” against its “adventurous MLAs.” “We have already decided on the issue and there is no turning back on it,” the sources stated, maintaining that the meeting of the BJP legislature wing, which will take place before the budget session of the assembly, would decide accordingly.
Ironically, BJP MLA from Calangute, Michael Lobo told this paper that he has already submitted a related Private Members Resolution in the Office of the Speaker, for tabling during the budget session of the assembly, which commences on February 19. “There could be altogether three such resolutions before the House, however, it is important that the Speaker admits one of them or all together,” he added, pointing out, “I am certain that the BJP legislature wing will not issue a whip to its legislators over this matter.”
“I have not thought over such a situation, but am certain that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will support this demand in the House, looking at the indications he has given over this issue,” Lobo maintained, noting that even though his party had passed a resolution of not supporting construction of any more statues in the assembly complex, he and some other party MLAs such as Francis D’Souza and Alina Saldanha had previously stressed on the need to have Sequeira’s statue in the assembly complex, before the particular resolution was passed.
D’Souza, a senior BJP leader stated that even though he may personally welcome the construction of the statue of Dr Sequeira in the assembly complex, he cannot challenge the party’s decision. “There is something called party discipline, party’s dictum and those covered by it cannot challenge the same,” he added, pointing out that over past 20 years,
he himself had been following the party discipline, and if party MLAs try to go against the party’s command, then the party authorities need to take disciplinary action against such legislators.
State BJP president Vinay Tendulkar told ‘The Navhind Times’ that the state executive committee of the party has already passed a resolution moved by Manohar Parrikar, as regards not supporting any statues in the assembly complex. “Our resolution is in sync with a resolution earlier passed by the state legislative assembly that after erecting the statue of Bhausaheb alias Dayanand Bandodkar in the assembly complex, there should be no more statues in the precincts,” he added, pointing out that this is the reason why demands for erecting statues of Babu alias Anant Naik, Purushottam Kakodkar, Babasaheb Ambedkar, etc, in the assembly complex were rejected from time to time.
Speaking further, Tendulkar observed that there is no need for issuing a whip by the BJP, over a single issue. “I am of the opinion that the entire issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Speaker of the state legislative assembly, and he has to decide on the demand,” he concluded.
The Congress as well as the Nationalist Congress Party legislators would also be submitting their Private Members Resolutions on the related demand, while the Goa Forward Party, with its all three MLAs being part of the state cabinet, intends to support these resolutions.
Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, the leader of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which is another coalition partner of the government, said that his party legislators will not support such a resolution, if it comes before the House. “Like BJP, we too feel that there should be no more statues in the state assembly complex,” he noted.
“All three MGP MLAs in the House have already taken the decision of opposing such a Private Members Resolution or resolutions, if they are tabled in the House,” Dhavalikar stated, adding that allowing such resolution or resolutions is the prerogative of the Speaker. “There are much more things than those meeting the eye behind such resolutions, and if this resolution comes for discussion in the House, then I will expose all these things,” he warned.