Congress to file disqualification petition against Vishwajeet Rane

Panaji: The Congress will file a disqualification petition against the party MLA Vishwajeet Rane on Wednesday for remaining absent during last week's floor test in the Goa Legislative Assembly.

The absence of Rane (45) during the test on March 16 came as a huge embarrassment for the Congress, as Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar-led coalition government proved its majority with the support of 22 legislators in the 40-member Assembly.

Rane, who represents Valpoi constituency, resigned on March 16 itself, blaming the Congress managers for frittering away the opportunity to capture power despite emerging the single largest party in the polls with 17 seats, four more than BJP.

"Congress would file a disqualification petition against Vishwajit Rane immediately after Speaker's election tomorrow," the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Chandrakant Kavlekar told reporters today. He said the Congress had issued a whip to all its members to vote against the trust motion moved by Parrikar. "A breach of whip amounts to disqualification," the CLP leader said.

He said the disqualification petition against Rane should have been filed immediately after the MLA violated the party whip, "but we could not understand what was happening and we did not expect him to take such drastic step."

Claiming a "strong case" for disqualifying Rane, Kavlekar said, "We had sought the advice of senior Congress functionaries Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi." He said a legal opinion was also sought in a bid to strengthen the case against Rane. Parrikar won the crucial floor test after the BJP succeeded in securing the number of legislators required for government formation by enlisting the support of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Independents, after the polls threw up a hung verdict.

Three MLAs each of the MGP and the GFP, besides three Independent legislators, are supporting the BJP-led coalition government in the coastal state, while NCP's Churchill Alemao is providing outside support.

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