New Speaker to be elected on June 4; Disqualification petition order after legal feedback

A one day session of the Goa Legislative Assembly will be summoned on June 4, to elect the new Speaker of the House. Newly elected BJP Shiroda MLA Subhash Shirodkar and Bicholim MLA Rajesh Patnekar are the front runners for the post. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo is likely to retain the position. The post of Speaker has been left vacant after Pramod Sawant was sworn in as Chief Minister of the State on March 19, due to the demise of (late) Manohar Parrikar. Lobo has currently been officiating as the Speaker in absence of Speaker. Speaking to media persons, Lobo said that government has decided to call one-day assembly session on June 4 to elect the new Speaker to the House.  “Speaker election is going to be the only agenda of the session,” he said adding ‘a senior most BJP MLA will be elected as the Speaker of the House’.  When asked, Lobo said that he is not in the race to be next Speaker as he feels that being in that position, he would not be able to raise the issues concerning the State. The monsoon session of the State Legislative Assembly is likely to be summoned in July.

Responding to a question with regards to the disqualification petition filed against BJP MLA and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, Lobo said that the same is in the final stage and order in that regards, might be pronounced before June 4. “The arguments in the disqualification petition are over and final order is ready. We have sent the order for legal opinion. We have received the legal opinion but I am yet to go through it,” he said.  “The order can be pronounced at any time. Even before June 4 or the new Speaker can,” Lobo said further adding that ‘there is no controversy as far as order in the disqualification petition is concerned’.  He also said that the petition is pending in Supreme Court and hence the order issued in the matter has to be within the legal parameters. Independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar had filed disqualification petition against Rane for resigning as MLA soon after taking oath in March 2017 to join BJP. Officiating Speaker Michael Lobo said that the office will soon be issuing notice to Deputy CM Manohar Ajgaonkar and PWD Minister Deepak Pauskar in the disqualification petition filed against them.  MGP MLA Ramakrishan alias Sudin Dhavalikar had filed disqualification petition against Ajgaonkar and Pauskar after they broke away from MGP to join BJP, last month. “We will soon issue notices to both the respondents in this regards,” he said informing that the matter is also pending in the High Court.