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BJP did not spilt MGP, their MLAs wanted to join our party: Pramod Sawant


ANI Politics
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday claimed that the BJP has not split the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) instead its MLAs had approached them as they felt unsafe in their party.
Addressing media here, Sawant said, "We did not split the party. Two of their MLAs Babu Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar split the party, formed a different group and came to us. They said they felt unsafe within their party."
Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar have joined BJP for the stability of the government. Automatically, our strength has grown to 14, said Sawant.
The support of the MGP was crucial for the stability of BJP-led dispensation in Goa. The merger of the two-member legislative unit into the BJP brings the saffron party on par with the Congress with 14 seats each. The MGP is an alliance partner of the BJP in Goa since 2012.
The MGP has three lawmakers in the 40-Member Goa Assembly and its senior leader and Marcaim legislator Sudin Dhavalikar is the deputy chief minister in the BJP-led Pramod Sawant government in Goa.
As two out of the three MLAs have merged the legislative wing, they are saved from inviting anti-defection law, which makes it mandatory that two-thirds of the strength should agree for the merger.
The legislators broke away from the MGP and formed a group, MGP (two) on Tuesday. They have now merged the legislative unit with the BJP.
Speaker Michael Lobo told ANI that his office was contacted by the two MLAs around 1:30 am when they walked in with a letter of merger, following which their letters were officially accepted.
"MGP's legislative wing has split. Two-third of MGP legislators formed a separate group and they are merging it with the BJP. All formalities as per the Constitution of India have been completed, "Lobo said.
Sharing his thoughts on joining BJP, Goa Tourism Minister and MGP MLA Manohar Ajgaonkar said, "The next government will be formed by BJP because wherever he (PM Modi) goes, people say, Modi, Modi. Because of Modi, BJP has developed in Goa."
"As a Dalit, I was unsure of my existence in MGP. Bahujan Samaj leaders like Lavu Mamledar were sacked from MGP," he added.
Meanwhile, Pauskar said, "We have happily joined BJP. Oath-taking ceremony will take place at 12 PM (today) in the presence of Goa Governor. We will accept whatever ministry will be given to us by Goa CM.
Slamming the merger, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar said, "The BJP has proved it is a threat to all its allies, this is a clear indication to all NDA partners all over the country just before Lok Sabha elections that any partnership with BJP will be detrimental to the existence of their own party."
Sawant had won the floor test in the state Assembly after 20 MLAs including 11 from BJP and three each from MGP, Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Independents voted in his favour.

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First Published: Mar 27 2019 | 10:05 PM IST

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