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BJP spent Rs 1,000 cr to lure Goa MLAs: Congress

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Panaji: The Congress on Wednesday claimed that Rs 1,000 crore had been spent on horse-trading and luring non-Congress legislators by the BJP to form a coalition government in Goa earlier this week.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary Girish Chodankar also protested the appointment of two-time Panaji MLA Sidharth Kunkolienkar as pro tem Speaker of the Goa legislative assembly, claiming that Kunkolienkar’s neutrality was in question, as he has served as a political assistant and joint secretary to Manohar Parrikar when he was Chief Minister from 2012-2014.

“Nothing less than Rs 1,000 crore have been spent by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to lure and buy MLAs over to their side,” Chodankar said, a day before the BJP-led coalition government led by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is scheduled to face a floor test in the state assembly on Thursday.

Parrikar was sworn in as Chief Minister of a coalition government on Tuesday.

The 22 MLAs of the BJP-led coalition include 13 BJP MLAs, three MLAs each from the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three independent MLAs.

Chodankar also claimed that BJP General Secretary Sadanand Shet Tanavde knew the details of the horse-trading and pay-offs made to MLAs.

When contacted over the phone, Tanavde said that the Congress was making baseless allegations.

“The Congress is making these allegations because they know they have lost the plot. I have not even been given five paise by my party,” Tanavde told IANS.

“I do not even know how to write Rs 1,000 crore… I drive a small car,” the BJP official said, adding that the BJP-led coalition government winning a majority on Thursday was a given.

Objecting to the appointment of Kunkolienkar as pro tem Speaker by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Chodankar said that the Congress legislative party leader had officially complained to Sinha, asking her to reconsider her decision.

“A pro tem Speaker has to be the most senior member of the state legislative assembly. He is known as the father of the house. Kunkolienkar is only a two-time MLA and he has been a joint secretary to Manohar Parrikar, during his last stint as Chief Minister.

“Kunkolienkar has also worked as a political assistant. How can he be fair as pro tem Speaker when his boss is Chief Minister,” Chodankar asked.

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