Goa Assembly’s monsoon session to begin from Monday

Panaji:The 20-day monsoon session of the Goa Legislative Assembly will begin from Monday, which comes after 10 Congress MLAs split the party and merged the legislative unit into the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last week.

The merger, which is led by now former Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, now takes the Pramod Sawant-led government legislative strength to 27 MLAs, even as two independent MLAs and one from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party are also a part of the treasury benches.

On Saturday, Sawant also sacked four ministers, including three from the Goa Forward party, which on Sunday withdrew its support from the his government. The other Minister, Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte, has not formally withdrawn support yet.

Following the split, the Congress which is now reduced to five MLAs, is in a state of chaos, with the party unable to appoint a legislature party leader yet.

“We will finalise the name in a couple of days,” Congress MLA and former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said.

Speaking to reporters, Speaker Rajesh Patnekar said that the state Assembly had received a total 2,328 legislative uestions, including 725 starred and 1,603 unstarred.

Patnekar said that the Legislative Assembly questions fielded by the three Congress MLAs — Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate, Filipe Neri Rodrigues — who switched over to the saffron party (last week) and one BJP MLA, all of whom were sworn into Sawant’s cabinet on Saturday, had been however withdrawn.

“The MLAs still have till July 17 to submit their questions to the House,” he added.

Some of the key issues which are expected to be debated in this session include the BJP’s engineering of a split in the Congress legislative ranks, the ongoing controversy related to the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan, resumption of mining and the continued use of formalin to preserve fish being sold in Goa.