Today's Paper

President's rule in Goa

NEW DELHI, MARCH 4. Goa was tonight brought under President's rule. President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam approved the imposition of President's rule in the State as recommended by the Union Cabinet in the evening, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman here.

The Union Cabinet at its meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recommended that Goa be brought under President's rule and the Assembly kept under suspended animation, even though the Rane Government earlier won a kind of vote of confidence in the House.

The Cabinet decided to act without waiting for any recommendation from Governor S.C. Jamir about the far-from-correct procedure adopted by pro tem Speaker Francisco Sardinha, which resulted in a technical victory for the Rane Government.

After the Cabinet meeting, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil told a press conference that "what has happened in the Legislative Assembly of Goa today is not acceptable to the Government."

Mr. Patil said: "It was not proper not to allow one member to vote and then get the Confidence Motion passed with a casting vote given by the Speaker. This is exactly what was done by the previous government [headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party]. If that was wrong, this is also wrong."

The general view in the Cabinet was that the manner in which the vote of confidence had been secured was "not tenable". Given the current political uncertainty, it was not possible for the Assembly to pass the State budget within the stipulated time (that is, by March 31), and it was therefore necessary to take steps to ensure that there was no financial crisis.

Before the Cabinet meeting, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Singh met briefly and took stock of the Goa developments.

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