Spectre of disqualification makes rebels shaky

Goa ex-CM Parrikar gives a piece of his mind

The BJP’s Central and Karnataka leadership perhaps owe much to former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar who spent the better part of Friday trying to broker a deal with the 14 dissidents camped at the Taj Exotica in Benaulim.

Using some characteristic plainspeak and a number of examples from Goa’s political instability of the past, Parrikar told the rebels that the Speaker, who has already issued notices to 11 BJP MLAs, holds the trump card at the moment.

“Has Kumaraswamy given you an assurance that he can save you from being disqualified for walking out of your legislature party? When that happens, he will dump you,” Parrikar told some of the party rebels, pointing out that Anand Asnotikar’s father-in-law Sanjay Bandekar had himself been disqualified for crossing floors when a minister in Goa. A detailed explanation of how the anti-defection law has been used effectively against rebel members by various Speakers in Goa appeared to have rattled many of their MLAs, BJP sources said.

H D Kumaraswamy who flew in here in a chartered aircraft Thursday night was sitting only a few rooms down the corridor from Parrikar and Janardhana Reddy at the South Goa resort. “He had three or four rounds of talks with the MLAs, but he didn’t give them any real assurances,” BJP MP Sripad Naik told Deccan Herald.

As he left the hotel, Kumaraswamy told the media outside, “Wait till the 11th. Anything can happen in three days.” But the Congress has so far declined to play ball with the JD(S), preferring to keep a watchful eye on its flock of 73 that it moved to Lonavala. Late Friday, the BJP seemed confident that it has managed to defuse its second worst crisis in Karnataka. The first one, launched by the Reddy brothers, almost brought Yeddyurappa’s government down a year ago.

According to a deal being fine-tuned, all six ministers who had been sacked are to be  reinstated and one more independent is likely to be accommodated in the Cabinet. “The Central leadership has already agreed to most of the demands, just a few more details are to be worked out,” Naik told this newspaper. There is talk here too that the wayward MLAs would be driven out of Goa late Friday night or early Saturday and arrangements were being made for a heavy police escort on the Karnataka border.

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