Ball in Guv’s court as Goa Speaker goes adamant over Opposition remark

A verbal battle between the opposition lawmakers of Goa and the Speaker of the Assembly has now reached the Governor’s court, on the eve of a winter Assembly session beginning in the second fortnight of the New Year.

The ‘united opposition’ belonging to the three-member Congress, two-member AAP and one-member RGP, in a joint meeting, strongly opposed the decision to curtail the winter session to four days only – from 16 to 19 January. 

Since it’s the beginning of the year, the first day of the session would be dedicated to the Governor’s address. The opposition is also upset that the remaining three days do not include Private Members’ Day, which is always Friday. The session ends on Thursday.

While claiming that the BJP government led by Dr Pramod Sawant is afraid of the opposition, Goa Forward Party leader Vijai Sardesai alleged: “The Speaker is behaving as if he is an employee of the Chief Minister.”

Later, when the opposition members tried to meet Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar, he took an adamant stand stating that he would not meet them unless Sardesai apologises to him for the unwarranted remark of calling him an employee of the chief minister. 

In retaliation, the opposition members rushed to the Raj Bhavan, urging Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai to direct the government to extend the duration of the winter session by three weeks and allow ‘Private Members Business’.

“We have explained to the governor about the unconstitutional attitude of the speaker. It is a black day in democracy. Hence we have asked the governor to intervene. We are here to resolve the problems. There are burning issues, which need to be discussed. Our rights as MLAs should be protected,” said Yuri Alemao, the Leader of the Opposition belonging to the Congress.

The opposition in Goa’s 40-member Assembly has shrunk down to mere seven members after almost eight members of the Congress defected and joined the ruling party. 

But Alemao, the first-time young MLA, said: “Hum Saat Saath Hai (हम सात साथ है)”. 

Three among them are Congress legislators: Yuri Alemao, Carlos Fereira and Alton Costa.

Two members belong to the Aam Aadmi Party: Captain Venzy Viegas and Cruz Silva. 

Revolutionary Goans Party has a lone legislator: Viresh Borkar.

All these six are first-time MLAs while the sole commander Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party has entered the House for a third consecutive term. 

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