Goa's MGP just escaped a split

Last Updated 06 September 2019, 10:41 IST

The Maharashtra Gomantakwadi Party (MGP) was on the verge of split when the political crisis in Goa deepened ahead of the formation of the new government in the tiny coastal state.

The BJP arm-twisted the MGP to toe their line.

The MGP is the first party that came to power in after the Portuguese rule ended in 1961.

After the 2017 polls, the MGP had three members in the Goa Legislative Assembly.

They are Sudin Ramkrishna Dhavalikar, Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pawaskar.

Sudin's brother and MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar was the key person for negotiations with BJP president Amit Shah and Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Shripad Naik, who is from Goa.

The Dhavalikar brothers toughened their stand and demanded that like the other ally, the Goa Forward Party (GFP), they should also get three berths in the ministry.

The Shah-Gadkari duo flatly refused the demand made by the brothers, who hold a lot of clout in Goa politics.

Apparently, at one point Sudin was out of the negotiations, being held in a five-star hotel, and Ajgaonkar and Pawaskar almost agreed to join the BJP ang get ministerial berths.

If the two MLAs of the total strength of three had left the MGP and given letters of support to the chief minister-designate Dr Pramod Sawant, it would not have attracted the anti-defection law.

Gadkari, however, maintained a line of communication with Sudin and pursued him to come to the Raj Bhawan.

Later, Sudin, too was elevated to the post of deputy chief minister but the third ministry was ruled out.

According to sources, the BJP has also extracted an assurance from the MGP that it would not field any candidate in the two seats in Lok Sabha elections.

The MGP may also not field candidates from Mapusa and Mandrem bypolls.

When asked of this, Deepak Dhavalikar said: "I don't know what (my brother) Sudhin told the BJP."

(Published 20 March 2019, 13:20 IST)

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