Friday, 18 January, 2019

Congress plays wait and watch ; will need MGP or Vijai's support

14th March 2018, 02:25 Hrs

the goan I network
Congress’ stand that the party is not averse to forming an alternate government in the event the coalition government crumbles has raised a million dollar question – whether the Congress will settle for the Goa Forward or the MGP to form the alternate government.  
In the game of numbers, the Congress cannot hope to form the government with the help of three Independents -- Revenue Minister, Rohan Khaunte, Art and Culture Minister Govind Gawde, Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar and lone NCP MLA Churchill Alemao. For, even assuming that the foursome extend support to the Congress, the single largest party in the Goa Legislative Assembly may be able to cobble up the support of 20 MLAs, one short of a simple majority.  
This brings to the fore the core question – will the party settle for the Mahrastrawadi Gomantak Party, with whom they have done business in the past, or the nascent regional party, Goa Forward headed by TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai. Both these regional parties have made it very clear that they are in alliance with the BJP for the moment and have no plans to withdraw from the coalition.  
Even the Congress appears a house divided on the issue of seeking support from parties and individuals to form an alternate government. While it is an open secret that Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Shantaram Naik and Leader of the Opposition Babu Kavlekar share close rapport with Goa Forward supremo Vijai Sardesai, there may be a couple of Congress leaders, who may see red over the question of dealing with the Goa Forward.  
When The Goan posed the question to the state Congress president, Shantaram said, “There cannot be an answer to this question at the moment. Suppose if the coalition government crumbles, we will have to find out first the MLAs who have withdrawn support to the dispensation”.
Secondly, Naik said the answer will also depend on the terms and conditions the parties and MLAs place before the single largest party before joining hands to form the alternate government.  
“These and other questions will emerge only in the event the government crumbles under its own weight. Right now, I cannot answer which MLAs will extend support to the alternate government,” Shantaram said, while trying to wriggle out of the question.  
Leader of the Opposition, Babu Kavlekar, too, was evasive when asked whether the Congress would favour the MGP or the Goa Forward party and Independents to form the alternate government. “At the outset, let me make clear that the Congress is neither out to destabilize the coalition government nor in any hurry to form an alternate government. Our leaders commented on forming an alternate government only after members of the coalition government spoke in different tones in recent times.  
No one is in favour of a mid-term poll and elections every now and then are also not good. As far as taking support of the MLAs to form the government, this question will arise only in the event the coalition government crumbles.”  
Sources in the know said the Leader of the Opposition, the GPCC president, besides senior party leaders had called on the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Chella Kumar during his recent visit to the state earlier this week where the issue of formation of alternate government was discussed and deliberated.