Dr D'Souza to negotiate with Congress on NCP legislators demands

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Panaji, Jan 17 (UNI) In a significant development, five disgruntled legislators including three ministers, authorised the Goa Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Dr Wilfred D'Souza to negotiate with the Congress leadership for redressing their grievances which include scrapping of the controversial Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat forthwith.

The three NCP members -- Tourism Minister Francisco (Mickey) Xavier Pascheco, Revenue Minister Jose Philips D'Souza and parliamentary secretary Neelkanth Harlankar -- besides Health Minister Biswajeet Rane (independent and son of Speaker Pratapsinh Rane) and unattached MLA Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate called on Dr D'Souza earlier in the day.

It might be recalled that the three ministers and the parliamentary secretary had announced their resignation from the cabinet and the post respectively last night expressing their dissatisfaction over the functioning of the government led by Digambar Kamat.

Neither the Chief Minister, nor the Governor and the Speaker have confirmed the receipt of the resignation letters so far.

NCP president Sharad Pawar, meanwhile, has taken serious view of the developments in Goa and warned the NCP legislators of stern action if they withdrew support to the Congress-led government.

The five legislators are not keen on a change in leadership in the state but are furious at Finance Minister Dayanand Narvekar and PWD Minister Churchill Alemao who are allegedly responsible for all the havoc Goa is now witnessing.

They regretted that no development had occured during the last seven-month rule and the two were indulging in acts of omission and commission.

Meanwhile, AICC general secretary in charge of Goa B K Hariprasad air-dashed here today to diffuse the crisis. He conferred with Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and other party leaders besides the legislators.

The Goa Assembly was adjourned for the day yesterday immediately after the recess after the Chief Minister requested the Speaker to do so following a ghastly road accident which claimed 13 lives.

The BJP, however, said the House was adjourned to save the government from crisis and asked the Governor S C Jamir to direct the Chief Minister to seek a vote of confidence to prove his majority in the House today.

It was also widely rumoured that the House may be adjourned sine die and later prorogued without undertaking the appropriation bill to ward off the crisis like situation.

UNI BM MAZ SP RN1422

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