Goa: Disqualification pleas against 12 MLAs who joined BJP dismissed

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(Eds: Updating) Panaji, Apr 20 (PTI) In a major relief for the BJP government in Goa, Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar on Tuesday dismissed disqualification petitions against twelve MLAs including ten former Congress legislators who crossed over to the ruling party in 2019.

The BJP currently has 27 MLAs in the 40-member house.

Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar had filed a disqualification petition against ten MLAs who switched sides in 2019. The MGP's Sudin Dhavalikar had filed a similar plea against two party MLAs who joined the ruling party in the same year.

In separate oral orders, the Speaker dismissed both the petitions without giving any reasons.

Advocate Abhijit Gosawi, representing Chodankar, however, said they had crossed the 'first hurdle' in getting the ten turncoat MLAs disqualified.

'We were waiting for the Speaker to deliver order so that we can approach court to get a favourable verdict,' he said, adding they were waiting for a detailed order from the Speaker.

The Congress' strength in the Goa Assembly was reduced to five after the mass exit of 10 legislators in 2019.

The Speaker also dismissed the disqualification petition filed by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) against Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar who switched sides in the same year.

Advocate Carlose Alvares Ferreira, representing the MGP, said after going through the detailed order and reasons they will decide what to do next.

'The Speaker today only said the petition is dismissed,' Ferreira added.

Dhavalikar, now the sole MLA of his party following the exit of Ajgaonkar and Pauskar, said the order was disappointing.

'We were expecting that the Speaker would dismiss both the MLAs,' he said. PTI RPS KRK KRK