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Sonia’s help sought to save Goa govt
PANAJI, APR 6 (IANS):
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Published on 6 Apr. 2010 11:36 PM IST
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Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s intervention has been sought by Goa’s ruling Congress and its Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ally to find a way out of the imbroglio in the state government as Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Tuesday said the demands of the rebel MLAs were not within his power to meet.
Kamat also said the dissidents, a group of seven ruling MLAs including five ministers, had placed their demands before the Congress high command.
A cabinet meeting which was called Tuesday morning to discuss a possible dissolution of the state legislature, turned out to be a damp squib, with the cabinet only approving a sports policy for the state. NCP legislature party leader Jose Phillip D’Souza said that dissolution would be an unnecessary step.
“Why talk about dissolution? Our high command is meeting with Sonia Gandhi later tonight. They will discuss and find a solution. We have placed our demands before them,” D’Souza said.
Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao said: “The cabinet was called today for taking a decision on the dissolution of the house. Since the G-7 (group of 7 disgruntled legislators) came running, we decided against it.”
The G-7 members, who comprise three NCP legislators, two MLAs from the regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak party (MGP) and two other legislators, were in Mumbai late Monday night to meet NCP leader Praful Patel in a bid to leverage with the Congress high command to resolve the imbroglio. Tuesday’s cabinet meeting lasted barely 15 minutes and was held at the state secretariat, with the media banned from entering the premises.
Neither the G-7 nor the Congress leadership have come on record to specify the nature of “demands” put forth by the dissenting group, which is threatening to tear apart the coalition.
After dodging the media immediately after the cabinet meeting, Kamat told reporters in the afternoon that the dissident group had placed its demands before the Congress high command.
“If they have something (demands), they have raised it at the high command level. Their demands are not within my power,” Kamat said.
Off record, however, Congress leaders suggest that inability of Digambar Kamat, who also hold the mines portfolio, to clear several mining leases obtained by a minister member of the G-7 before the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) placed moratorium on mining clearances in Goa, could be one of the reasons for dissidence.
“These new mining leases are now not operational because of the moratorium imposed by the MoEF,” sources said.
Congress leaders also suggest that a mega land deal being pushed by a union minister belonging to the NCP, which was being blockaded by Kamat was the reason behind the political turbulence.
Kamat has, however, denied the charge.
Goa’s 40-member unicameral legislature comprises 18 legislators from the Congress, 14 of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), NCP (3), MGP (2), unattached United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP) (1) and two Independent legislators. The ruling coalition comprises the Congress, the NCP, the MGP, the UGDP and one Independent.

 
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