Special Correspondent

PANAJI: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a judgement of the Goa Bench of Bombay High Court disqualifying two MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in an office of profit case.

For the Opposition BJP the decision comes close on the heels of an earlier setback it got recently when one of its MLAs Manohar Azgaonkar gave up the membership of the Assembly to join Congress and become a Minister. The two MLAs are Rajendra Arlekar from Vasco constituency in south Goa and Dayanand Mandrekar from Siolim constituency in north Goa. The losing candidates of the Nationalist Congress Party filed the petitions after the last Assembly elections in May 2002.

While the Deputy Chief Minister Wilfred de Souza expressed happiness that the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court, the BJP leader and former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar tried to down-play the decision saying, " factually it did not make any difference to the party as it has come too close to the next assembly elections."