PANJIM: In a major setback to MLAs seeking to install statues of various leaders in the Assembly complex, Speaker Dr Pramod Sawant has refused to entertain any private members’ resolutions on this and has set aside all five that had been received by the legislature secretariat.
MLAs cutting across party lines had moved private members’ resolutions seeking the installation of statues of Dr Jack de Sequeira, TB Cunha, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Shivaji Maharaj in the Assembly complex.
“Speaker has decided not to entertain any resolutions for installation of statues. He has set aside all five resolutions. They will not be tabled in the House,” sources confirmed to Herald.
The sources added, “The final decision always rests with the Speaker. Speaker has the power to decide which resolutions are to be taken up on the Floor of the House and which not.”
Last week, addressing the press advisory committee, Sawant, who is a BJP MLA had said that party decisions are not binding on him. “Here, I am Speaker of State Assembly and not party MLA,” he had said.
Three resolutions in support of a statue of the Father of Opinion Poll – Dr Jack De Sequeira – were moved by Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo, NCP MLA Churchill Alemao and all 16 Congress MLAs.
MGP MLA Deepak Pawaskar had moved a resolution for installation of statue of TB Cunha and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, while BJP MLA Rajesh Patnekar had moved a private members’ resolution in support of a statue of Shivaji.
Goa Forward Party, a coalition partner in the BJP-led government, was the first to demand for Dr Sequeira’s statue. The party, which has three Ministers, had even threatened to quit the government if the demand was not fulfilled. Reacting to the Speaker’s decision, GFP president and Minister Vijai Sardesai said, “We will fight it in the right forum. We are going to do what we have to.”
“It was the only Opinion Poll held in the history of India. The Opinion Poll helped to maintain the identity of Goa. Those who fought to maintain and protect the identity need to be recognised. Dr Jack de Sequeira is called the Father of Opinion poll and hence, we were demanding his statue,” Sardesai stated.
Lobo, who was the first to move the resolution, was not available for comments and is currently in Brazil on a private tour.
Congress, on the other hand, has decided to question the Speaker seeking to know on what grounds the resolutions are not being allowed to be tabled in the House. “On the first day of the State Assembly (February 19) we will raise the matter in the House,” Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said.
MGP president Deepak Dhawalikar declined to comment stating, “It was always the Speaker’s right to decide and we would not like to speak.”