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As per constitutional norms: Goa Speaker on merger of Cong MLAs with BJP

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Panaji, Oct 12: The recent move by a group of eight Congress MLAs in Goa to merge with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was as per the constitutional norms, state Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar said.

Tawadkar told PTI that the political dynamics has changed in recent times and politics is now more "vibrant".

Ramesh Tawadkar

On September 14 this year, eight out of the 11 Congress MLAs in Goa joined the BJP. They had passed a resolution to merge the Congress Legislature Party with the BJP, according to news agency PTI.

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Asked about the last month's political development, Tawadkar said the merger was as per the constitutional provisions.

"A group of two-third MLAs split from the party and merged with the BJP. Everything went as per the rule book," he said.

Tawadkar said when the split took place in the Congress, he was in Delhi but rushed back to Goa capital Panaji the same day and completed the formalities.

"It happened all of sudden. I presume even they had taken the decision suddenly," he said, news agency PTI reported.

Asked whether it is healthy in a democracy for legislators to get elected on one party ticket and then switch over to another party without facing polls again, Tawadkar said these MLAs may have felt their party (Congress) was not able to give justice to them, that is why they joined the BJP.

"The dynamics of politics have changed in recent times. We have a vibrant politics now. The MLAs have to think about the overall development of their constituency during their tenure," he said.

To a query on the opposition's strength in the 40-member Goa Assembly coming down to seven, the Speaker said, "I feel even if the number of the opposition members is less, they will get more opportunity to speak in the House. They will be able to establish their leadership. We can consider this as a plus point." Tawadkar said he has always tried to balance between the ruling and opposition members by providing equal opportunities to both the sides to speak in the House.

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To another query, he said the Assembly sessions would be lengthier in future so that the newly elected MLAs can learn and also participate in the House proceedings in a better way.

The Goa Assembly's monsoon session held in July, which was scheduled for 25 days, had to be curtailed to two weeks due to the Code of Conduct imposed for the panchayat elections, he said.

"We have decided that in future, the Assembly sessions would be lenghtier so that the new MLAs can participate in discussions and learn about the Assembly proceedings," said the Speaker.

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