The Congress today moved the Bombay High Court seeking to stop its former MLA and Goa’s current Health Minister Vishwajit Rane from contesting the future by- elections till the existing state assembly term ends in 2022.
The party moved the Goa bench of the high court.
“The petition has been filed jointly by the Indian National Congress, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), the Congress Legislative party (CLP) and 15 members of the legislative assembly,” CLP leader Chandrakant Kavlekar told reporters.
Pratapsinh Rane, a senior Congress MLA and Vishwajit’s father, however, did not sign the petition, he said.
Kavlekar said they have urged the court not to allow Vishwajit to contest the future elections till 2022.
Vishwajit had resigned as MLA of Valpoi seat on March 16, the day when Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar sailed through the trust vote on floor of the House.
He later joined the ruling BJP and was subsequently inducted in the cabinet as health minister.
“By abstaining from voting in the Goa legislative assembly (on the day of trust vote), and by voluntarily giving up his membership of the Congress Party, (Vishwajeet) Rane had automatically incurred disqualification for being a member of the House from March 16, 2017 to March 15, 2022,” reads the petition.
“Therefore, in terms of Article 191 of the Constitution, he stood disqualified for being chosen as or for being a member of the Goa legislative assembly between this period of five years as a mandate of Article 191 of the Constitution.
“Despite this constitutional mandate, Vishwajeet has not only joined a different political party on April 6, 2017 after voluntarily resigning from the Congress on March 16, but has also been conferred a ministerial office by the present BJP government in Goa for being dishonest to Congress,” it stated.
The petitioners stated that junior Rane’s act of joining the BJP a month after resigning from the Congress is against the “very foundations of democracy” and cannot be “countenanced” in terms of the law or under Article 191 of Constitution.
The Congress had earlier contemplated approaching Goa Speaker Pramod Sawant, a BJP MLA from Sankhalim in north Goa, seeking Vishwajeet’s disqualification as MLA but later refrained from doing so.
( Source – PTI )