'With two MLAs joining the BJP, our strength has gone up to 14 (in the 40-member Assembly),' Sawant said.
Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday claimed the two MGP MLAs who broke away from the party and joined the BJP did so for the stability of the state government.
During the early hours of Wednesday, two of the three Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLAs-- Manohar Ajgaonkar and Dipak Pawaskar-- gave a letter to officiating Speaker Michael Lobo, merging their party's legislative wing with the BJP. The third MGP MLA is Deputy Chief Minister Sudin Dhavalikar who has not signed the letter.
"With two MLAs joining the BJP, our strength has gone up to 14 (in the 40-member Assembly). Both of them have joined the BJP to ensure stability of the government," Sawant told reporters after Ajgaonkar and Pawaskar joined his party.
While Ajgaonkar is an MLA from Pernem in North Goa, Pawaskar represents Sanvordem. Ajgaonkar said he was feeling unsafe in the party after Lavoo Mamlatdar, senior general secretary of the MGP, was recently expelled by the party chief Dipak Dhavalikar.
Mamlatdar was expelled after he wrote to the Speaker lat week, urging him not to entertain any communication from the MGP without his signature. Ajgaonkar also alleged that the MGP of today was not working for the downtrodden. Pawaskar too hit out at the party.
"During the last two years as an MLA, I was never invited to attend central committee meetings. Both the Dhavalikar brothers (Sudin and Dipak) never took us into confidence," he said. Pawaskar said the probability of him and Ajgaonkar joining the BJP was discussed with then CM late Manohar Parrikar.
"But somehow, it could not be followed up due to the health conditions of Parrikar," he said.
Meanwhile, the chief minister is expected to drop the deputy CM from the cabinet later in the day. The ruling BJP has called an emergency meeting of its MLAs and office-bearers Wednesday to discuss the developments over the past 24 hours. The meeting will decide on dropping Dhavalikar and inducting Pawaskar in his place, party sources said.
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