Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Mayem, Anant Shet on Tuesday was elected as the new Speaker of the state legislative assembly by 28 against 9 votes. He defeated the Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenço.
Congress MLA from St Cruz, Jennifer Monserrate and the unattached legislator Atanasio Monserrate remained absent in the House during the day.
Pro-tem Speaker Mauvin Godinho conducted the election.
The 21 BJP legislators, besides three Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLAs – Ramakrishna Dhavalikar, Pandurang Dhavalikar and Lavoo Mamledar – two members of the House belonging to the Goa Vikas Party namely Francisco (Mickky) Xavier Pacheco and Caetano Silva, and two Independents – Avertano Furtado and Benjamin Silva – voted for Shet. On the other hand, six Congress MLAs and three Independents, namely Vijay Sardesai, Rohan Khaunte and Naresh Sawal voted in favour of Lourenço.
Both the candidates had filed two sets of nomination papers, which were held valid by the Pro-tem Speaker. One set of nomination papers of Shet was proposed by Furtado and seconded by Mamledar, while his other set of nomination papers was proposed by Dr Pramod Sawant and seconded by Vishnu Wagh.
One set of nomination papers of Lourenço was proposed by Sardesai and seconded by Khaunte, while his other set of nomination papers was proposed by Pratapsingh Rane and seconded by Digambar Kamat.
After the election for the post of the Speaker was conducted by voice vote,
Sardesai sought division of votes. The Pro-tem Speaker counted the number of legislators supporting each candidate and announced the result.
The legislators then congratulated Shet on being elected as the Speaker of the House, with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Opposition leader Pratapsingh Rane escorting him to the Chair of the Speaker.
Speaking on the occasion, Parsekar observed that Shet, who was born in a family with a simple background, rose to the position of Speaker with hard work and dedication.
“Shet has supported people from his constituency on issues like evacuee property and demand for the Chorao-Salvador do Mundo bridge,” Parsekar added, pointing out that enactment of The Goa (Abolition of Proprietorships, Titles and Grants of Lands) Act, 2014 for solving the Mayem evacuee property issue, is the result of hard work put in by Shet.
“The 1,182 houses in Mayem have already been registered, while the task of registering agricultural fields in the village is almost complete, and the government will start the work of granting related sanads to the villagers, later this year,” he assured.
The Chief Minister also said that the construction of the Chorao-Salvador Do Mundo bridge has been delayed because of the new central land acquisition act, which was passed under the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
“This Act has created problems for my government in acquiring land to construct access roads for this proposed bridge,” he pointed out, adding that the government will formulate land acquisition rules within the framework of the central land acquisition act during the forthcoming budget session of the state assembly, so that the construction of the Chorao-Salvador do Mundo bridge, and its access roads could be taken up.
Congratulating Shet on his election as the Speaker, the Opposition leader said that there was no need for the BJP-led government to enact The Goa (Abolition of Proprietorships, Titles and Grants of Lands) Act, 2014, as there already existed a legislation namely The Goa Administration of Evacuee Property (Amendment) Act, 1989.
“The only problem with this Act was that inadvertently or advertently, someone has put the name of the government in the column of the occupants,” he added.
The Fatorda MLA said that former speaker Rajendra Arlekar should be given due credit for introducing the concept of paperless assembly as also taking initiatives such as orientation programme for the newly elected MLAs. “However, Parsekar, who had once opposed Emergency in the country, went on to become dictatorial in his approach for providing protective cover in the House, to the government of his party, and did not give free space to the Opposition MLA to express their views; even going to the extent of converting the calling attention motions of the opposition legislators into zero hour mentions,” he noted, stating that Shet is now the guardian of the traditions of democratic legacy, and all members of the House expect him to be neutral in his approach.
As Sardesai was in the midst of his speech, Parsekar intervened and demanded that Shet should ask the Independent MLA to stop talking about the former speaker and congratulate the new Speaker.
However, Sardesai continued and said, “You need not teach us what to speak and what not to. If we had to listen to you, we would have come here with a slate and chalk.”
This evoked strong response from the ruling party members like Dr Pramod Sawant and Subhash Phaldesai.
As the ruckus continued, the Speaker adjourned the assembly till 2.30 pm for lunch break.