Panaji: BJP MLA Rajesh Patnekar was on Tuesday elected as Speaker of the Goa Assembly, defeating former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane of the Congress by 22-16 votes. Speaking to legislators after the win, Patnekar said he would try his best to be impartial in his decisions and expressed disappointment that late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died in March after a prolonged battle with cancer, was missing from the House. “I cannot forget Parrikar… His contribution in the House and in Goa cannot be forgotten and will be remembered in the years to come. Both the ruling as well as opposition benches enjoyed a lot under his leadership,” Patnekar said. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC The new Speaker also had a word of advice for the MLAs. “Don’t leave the House while the Assembly is in session. Try to watch, try to study. Make sure the House does not remain empty.” Rane congratulated Patnekar on his victory. “I congratulate you on winning. A Speaker has to be neutral. You will be judged by the decisions of the House,” Rane said. Lone Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao was not present at the time of voting while Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dhavalikar, who has not withdrawn his support to the BJP-led coalition government despite acute differences, voted against Patnekar. The election was conducted by Acting Speaker Michael Lobo. The election was necessitated after Speaker Pramod Sawant was appointed the Chief Minister following Parrikar’s death.
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