BJP cries foul against Goa speaker attending Congress rallies

Panaji, April 16 (Inditop) The presence of Goa legislative assembly speaker during the Congress election campaign and road-shows has riled the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who termed the act as “unethical”.

Speaker Pratapsing Rane, a veteran Congressman and chief minister for nearly two decades, was seen campaigning for the Congress candidate for South Goa Francisco Sardinha at a rally in Margao Wednesday. The rally was addressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Rane has also canvassed for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate in North Goa Jitendra Deshprabhu in election rallies last week.

“It is unethical on the speaker’s part to attend election rallies of a particular party,” Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar told IANS.

“He is supposed to be impartial. Canvassing for the Congress is certainly not done, when you are in the speaker’s chair,” he added.

Parrikar also said that considering Rane’s experience in the house, he should have exercised restraint in such matters.

Rane, however, ridiculed the BJP’s accusation, saying he was well within his rights to canvass for his parent party. “I have not resigned from the Congress. I am a speaker inside the house. Outside, I am a Congressman,” Rane told IANS Thursday, a few minutes after chairing a disqualification hearing against two Congress legislators Churchill Alemao and Reginaldo Lourenco.

The hearing was adjourned for want of documents. “The BJP has no right to question me about ethics. When I am in the chair in the assembly, I am impartial,” Rane said, adding that there was no convention in the country that disallows a speaker from canvassing for his parent party.