PONDA/PANAJI: Supporting the decision of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s central committee to contest the upcoming by-elections in Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies, senior MGP leader and Minister for Public Works Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar on Friday said that MLAs must be restrained from changing their allegiance from one party to another constantly.
“The MLAs switching the party in the middle of an assembly term has affected regional parties, especially the MGP, to a large extent. Hence the party has been opposing such defection by legislators since the year 2000… The MGP decision to contest the by-elections is appropriate and necessary to prevent legislators from switching political parties, ” he said while speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ on the sideline of a function held at Madkai on Friday.
When asked about the possible impact of the MGP decision on the coalition government of the state, Dhavalikar argued, “The alliance with the BJP or other coalition partners was not decided before the assembly elections. It has been an alliance that emerged after the assembly polls to support the leadership of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for the better development of the state.”
He said the MGP had fought the 2017 assembly elections independently, and that the party has adopted the same strategy for the upcoming by-polls in Shiroda and Mandrem assembly segments.
On Thursday, the central committee of the MGP formally decided to contest
the by-elections. The MGP is an alliance partner of the BJP-led coalition government, which has the Goa Forward Party and Independent legislators as other allies.
MGP president Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar will be the candidate for the Shiroda by-poll. But the party has not yet finalised the candidate for the Mandrem by-election.
On the other hand, state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said the party has faith on its alliance partner, expressing confidence that the MGP will support BJP’s candidates in both the constituencies.
“So far, the MGP leader has not spoken to us on contesting the by-polls. We have come to know about it only through the media,” he told ‘The Navhind Times’.
Tendulkar said that leaders of the BJP and the MGP will meet and discuss the issue once the by-poll schedule is announced by the Election Commission of India.
Tendulkar said that he tried to contact the MGP president on the phone last week, but could not speak to him.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday accused the BJP of misusing the public money to promote former Congress MLA and Goa Tourism Development Corporation chairman Dayanand Sopte, who in all probability fight the by-election to the Mandrem constituency.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, chief spokesperson of the Congress Sunil Kawthankar said that Sopte’s banner has been up at the Mandrem Paryatan Mahotsav (tourism festival).
“Tourists will not get attracted to Goa looking at Sopte’s face. Public money has been misused through the GTDC to promote Sopte at tourism events. Let the BJP leaders use their party fund to promote Sopte, ” Kawthankar said.
The promotional activity is only restricted to the Mandrem constituency, the Congress spokesperson claimed, adding that he has sought an explanation from the government as to how tourism will benefit from the Mandrem Paryatan Mahotsav.
The Congress said that it will soon seek reports from the government on the festival and expose the government over the loss of lakhs of rupees of the state exchequer.