Hours after two out of three MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party split the legislative unit and merged with Goa's ruling BJP, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said his party was not responsible for the split.
Addressing a press conference at the State Secretariat here, he also said that Deputy Chief Minister and now sole MGP lawmaker Sudin Dhavalikar had been dropped from the cabinet, because his party did not follow the coalition government's common minimum programme and blamed Dhavalikar for putting the interest of his brother, and MGP chief Dipak, ahead of the government.
"But 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," Sawant said, even as the MGP on Wednesday accused the BJP of committing "political dacoity" and destroying regional parties.
"They also said that there was a fear that they would be rendered as unattached MLAs or sacked. When a person wants to join a political party, then he is always welcome. We told them that we are ready to take you in and inducted them into the party at night," he said, adding that Pauskar would be sworn-in as a cabinet minister later.
The Chief Minister also said that the key deal-breaker between the MGP and the BJP was the upcoming bypoll at the Shiroda assembly constituency, where Dipak Dhavalikar is gearing up to contest.
"According to the programme, they were not supposed to contest Shiroda. If he (Sudin) thinks that his brother's interest is bigger than that of his party and the government, then I cannot do anything about it," he added.
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