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Goa Speaker Rejects Disqualification Plea Against Ex-CM Kamat, Lobo



In a significant development, Goa’s Legislative Assembly Speaker, Ramesh Tawadkar, has dismissed a disqualification petition lodged by the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) against former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and MLA Michael Lobo. The petition, initiated on July 11, 2022, accused Kamat and Lobo of engaging in anti-party activities following their defection to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The decision, announced on May 9, 2024, sparked discontent within the Congress ranks, with GPCC President Amit Patkar expressing disappointment and alleging partisan influence in the Speaker’s ruling. Patkar contended that the expected outcome was a result of the Speaker’s alignment with the BJP government’s directives, casting doubt on the impartiality of the proceedings.

Patkar asserted that while the GPCC anticipated such a verdict, they are currently deliberating on their next course of action. He emphasized the necessity for the Speaker to promptly address the other pending disqualification petitions against eight MLAs who had similarly switched party affiliations.

The issue stems from a sequence of events initiated by the defection of Kamat and Lobo to the BJP, culminating in a contentious merger of eight MLAs into the BJP fold. This maneuver significantly diminished the Congress’s representation within the state assembly, prompting the GPCC to challenge the legitimacy of the merger through legal channels.

Despite the setback, Patkar highlighted the GPCC’s determination to pursue further legal avenues, citing the Supreme Court’s guidelines regarding the expeditious resolution of such disputes. The GPCC’s contention revolves around the interpretation of anti-party activities as tantamount to relinquishing party membership voluntarily, a claim they argue is substantiated by evidence of collusion between the accused and the BJP leadership.

The discord surrounding the disqualification petition underscores the enduring political tensions in Goa, with the Congress steadfast in its efforts to contest the legitimacy of defections and preserve the integrity of democratic processes within the state’s legislative framework.

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