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Monsoon session of Goa assembly begins, LoP chair remains vacant

ANI | July 15, 2019 02:21 PM
Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar requesting members to ensure smooth functioning of the house on Monday. (ANI)

Panaji (Goa) [India], July 15 (ANI): The monsoon session of Goa state Assembly began on Monday with a complete overhaul in the seating arrangements. The House with the seat designated for Leader of Opposition (LoP) remained vacant as its past occupant took a seat next to the state Chief Minister.

Today marks the first sitting of the House after 10 Congress MLAs, including Chandrakant Kavlekar who was the LoP, had joined BJP on Thursday.

In the House, the Opposition leader's chair has to be left empty as the Congress is yet to finalise a name for the post.

On Sunday, Congress leader and former state chief minister Digambar Kamat had said that the party is likely to decide the LoP in the Goa Assembly within the next two days.

"Congress will decide the Leader of Opposition maybe within two days," he told ANI.

First time after Goa attained statehood, the number of opposition members has come down to only about one-fourth in the 40-member House. This is after the defection of the 10-member Congress splinter group to the ruling side three days ago.

"We have reshuffled the sitting arrangement of MLAs in the assembly in view of the latest political developments," assembly speaker Rajesh Patnekar told ANI

Taking into consideration the latest developments, the speaker also eliminated questions raised by Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jeniffer Monserratte and Philip Neri Rodrigues on the floor of the House. All three have now joined BJP.

During today's session, Goa Chief minister Pramod Sawant also assured the House of appointing a special agency to conduct a detailed study on the soil erosion along the beaches and river lines of the State, and construct the retaining walls wherever required.

Sawant was in House responding to the question tabled by Congress MLA Luizinho Faleiro during the first day of monsoon session of the legislative assembly.

Replying to a Zero Hour mention by BJP MLA Pravin Zantye, Sawant also told the assembly that the mining of iron ore dumps will start in Goa within six months, while e-auction of already extracted ore lying used in mining areas jetties will begin in 20 days.

With the 10 MLAs switching over, the strength of Congress in the 40-member House has reduced to a mere five.

Kavlekar, along with two other Congress rebels -- Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Nery Rodrigues, and BJP MLA Michael Lobo, were appointed ministers on Saturday. However, the portfolios of the new ministers have not been allocated. (ANI)

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