After losing power in the BJP government, the Goa Forward Party could be in for more troubles. The Margao municipal council, which is ruled by the GFP-supported group of councillors, is on a sticky wicket as the BJP-backed councillors are likely to withdraw their support extended to the GFP group.
In the 25-member council, there are 11 GFP-backed members, six BJP-supported members, six Congress-backed members, and two Independent councillors.
At present, the ruling council comprises 11 members backed by the GFP, six members supported by the BJP and one Independent councillor. The ruling council is headed by chairperson Dr Babita Prabhudesai.
There must be 13 councillors in one group for forming the ruling council.
Reliable sources said that a few days back some BJP leaders held a secret meeting with the six party-supported MMC councillors, asking them to withdraw backing to the GFP group, which was extended in 2017.
Although the sources said the GFP will seek support of two Independent councillors, it is yet to be seen whether these Independent members would rally behind the GFP-backed group. It is understood that the GFP-supported councillors are in talks with the councillors backed by the
Congress to avoid collapse of the ruling council. However, the six Congress-backed councillors are not forthcoming on their support to the GFP group.
Interestingly, the BJP-backed councillors are hopeful of breaking bread with the Congress-supported council members.
“We still have the hold over the Margao municipal council,’’ GFP president and Fatorda legislator Vijai Sardesai maintained.
Sources claimed that a couple of GFP-supported councillors are in touch with the BJP-backed councillors, who have rolled up their sleeves to topple the Prabhudesai-led ruling council.
However, MMC’s vice-chairperson Tito Cardozo is confident of the unity among the ruling council members.
“We are united. We have the required support of councillors… there are no worries for us,” he asserted.
The GFP-backed group had assumed the reins of the council after the 2015 municipal election with the help of the councillors belonging to the Margao Model group, which was backed by senior Congress leader and Margao MLA Digambar Kamat.
Dr Prabhudesai was selected as chairperson and Doris Texeira as vice-chairperson.
However, the bonhomie between the GFP and the BJP that emerged after the 2017 assembly elections changed the political equations. Six BJP-backed councillors, who had been in the Opposition, supported the GFP group. Texeira was told to step down and GFP-backed councillor Cardozo was made the vice-chairperson.