Goa: Two MGP MLAs merge with BJP

In a significant development, two of the three Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLAs in Goa early on Wednesday, split from the regional party and merged their two-member legislative unit into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which now has 14 legislators in the 40-member state assembly.

MGP MLAs Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar have merged with the BJP. The letter requesting merger into the BJP was handed over to Goa Assembly Speaker Michael Lobo at 1:45 am on Wednesday.

However, Sudin Dhavalikar, the third MGP MLA, had not signed the letter.

The legislators broke away from the MGP and formed MGP-II and now they have merged the legislative unit with the BJP.

Dhavalikar and Ajgaonkar were sworn in as deputy chief minister and Tourism Minister respectively at a swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in the pre-dawn hours of March 19.

The mid-night political drama has increased the strength of the BJP from 12 to 14 in the 40-member state assembly.

MGP is an ally of the BJP in the Pramod Sawant government with all the three MLAs supporting him along with legislators from Goa Forward Party (GWP) and Independents.

Pramod Sawant, who faced floor test last week after the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, was supported by 20 MLAs as against 15 from opposition.