In a bid to thwart the moves of former MLA Micky Pacheco to return to the State cabinet, eight MLAs of the ruling coalition met at the residence of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary Vijai Sardessai’s residence on Wednesday evening demanding status quo.
The eight MLAs include six from the Congress Party, namely PWD Minister Churchill Alemao, Education Minister Babush Monserrate, Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao, Panchayat Minister Babu Azgaonkar, IDC Chairman Babu Kavlekar and Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and two from the Nationalist Congress Party being Revenue Minister Jose Philip D’Souza and Tourism Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar.
Disclosure by NCP General Secretary Bharti Chawan to Nilkanth that one of the two NCP ministers in Goa would be dropped, was the cause of this emergency meeting at the end of which each of the MLA stated that they wanted status quo.
Jose Philip D’Souza asserted that he and Nilkanth were “strong and united” thereby sending a message that neither of them will step down if asked to do so to accommodate Micky Pacheco the third NCP MLA in Goa. Micky has been working overtime behind the scenes to get himself reinstated in the cabinet and Sharad Pawar is reported to have even discussed this issue with the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who however, is learnt to have made her aversion to it quite clear.
Meanwhile, Churchill Alemao who has a running feud with Micky has threatened that he will not remain silent if any of the two NCP ministers are dropped and argued that there was no need to change the present dispensation as everybody including the people were happy with it.
“Do not force me to create any problem,” Churchill said while asserting that status quo should be maintained. He was supported by Babush Monserrate who also pledged his support to whatever decision Churchill takes.
Joaquim Alemao argued that there was no reason to drop either of the NCP ministers as they were not accused of being involved in any scam nor were they tainted in any way.
Babu Azgaonkar pointed out that the two NCP ministers were not interfering or creating any problems for Congress legislators in their constituencies and therefore there should not be any disturbance at the moment, a view echoed by Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco.