Wins elections 20-15; Congress candidate Lourenco reaches late, couldn’t vote; Churchill remains neutral after rebuke from NCP
PANJIM: BJP MLA Dr Pramod Sawant was elected as Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly defeating Congress’s Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Wednesday. The voting was held by head count.
Sawant polled 20 votes while the Congress candidate got 15 votes. Pro-tem Speaker Siddharth Kuncolienkar conducted the election and later handed over the chair to the newly-elected Speaker.
Interestingly, Congress’s candidate for the election, Lourenco, reached late and failed to vote, reducing the Congress votes to 15. The party is currently left with 16 MLAs, after the resignation of Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Churchill Alemao, who had supported the trust vote for Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, abstained from voting. The former Minister remained seated on his chair as the head count was called.
Further, BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral too reached after the voting process had ended. Kuncolienkar did not vote.
Addressing the House after being elected, Sawant explored the possibility of commencing training programmes for MLAs on how to deliver on the Floor of the House. “There are several new faces in this House. There is need to start training programme for new as well as old legislators. They need to be trained on how to put forth their issues and also maintain decorum of the House,” he said. The Speaker also assured to give equal opportunity to all MLAs.
Congratulating the Speaker, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar claimed that the MLAs were stuck in the traffic and also the watch of the Assembly was ahead of time due to which the proceedings began in advance. “The Assembly watch needs to be put in order,” he said.
Parrikar hailed the two-time MLA for his experience and active participation in various debates.
Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar expected that the Speaker would be impartial in doing his job. “I request you to give proper justice to all the members as many of them are new in the House,” he said.
Cong defends Lourenco’s late arrival
Congress on Wednesday defended Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, its candidate for the Speaker’s post, for having arrived late for the election, stating that the MLA was caught in traffic.
“Reginaldo’s act was not intentional. He was caught in traffic. He reached just 30 seconds after voting was completed. Here, the MLA is not to be blamed,” CLP leader Chandrakant Kavalekar said.
Earlier, Lourenco had told Herald that despite leaving from Home at 10.00am, he was not able to reach the House on time due to heavy traffic. “I stay in Curtorim. It takes nearly 90 minutes to reach Panjim. I along with BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral got stuck in traffic and hence was delayed for the election,” he said.
Cabral too could not reach in time for the head count.
Lobo BJP candidate for Dy Speaker
BJP MLA Michael Lobo is set to be elected as Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on Friday.
The BJP-led coalition has nominated the Calangute MLA for the post, while Congress will decide its nominee on Thursday when the CLP meets. The party has shortlisted Taleigao MLA Jennifer Monserrate and Canacona MLA Isidore Fernandes for the post. Nominations for the post have to be filed by Thursday afternoon.