MoI To Haunt Shantaram
Although the Congress High Command has given its nod to Shantaram Naik for a second term as Goa’s Rajya Sabha member, dissent in the treasury benches over the Medium of Instruction will make it no cakewalk for Naik.
The Rajya Sabha member is elected by the members of the Goa Legislative Assembly that has 40 members and they are equally divided over the medium of instruction issue.
The Congress has 20 MLAs including the Speaker Pratapsing Rane who is known to be opposed to providing grants to English medium schools and would well play a crucial role at these elections.
Both the alliance partners of the Congress – Nationalist Congress Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party – have publicly announced their opposition to the MoI decision.
While the NCP has three MLAs, the MGP has two which total up to five and if these five combine with the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s 14 MLA their tally goes up to 19
Independent MLA Anil Salgaonkar will then become the deciding factor as his vote will swing the fact of Naik.
However, Micky Pacheco also holds the key as though a strong supporter of the government over MoI, he has been very critical of the government on all other fronts could also tilt the balance by not voting for Naik.
The dissent within the Congress is also very strong with as many as seven MLAs upset with the government’s decision. They could also well use this opportunity to express their dissent unless of course the Congress repeats the procedure adopted earlier where its MLAs had to show their ballot paper to the party observer after stamping it.
That is why Pratapsing Rane as the speaker will determine Naik’s fate as it is he who will have to decide whether to permit the Congress observer in the Assembly on the day of the elections or not.