Prasad Gaonkar. (Photo by: twitter@PrasadGaonkar15). Image Source: IANS News

Panaji, Oct 21 : Independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar on Wednesday announced withdrawal of support to the BJP-led coalition government in Goa, following a war of words with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state BJP leadership over alleged land deals linked to the setting up of an IIT-Goa campus.

The withdrawal of support will have little impact on the state government, which has the support of 27 BJP MLAs and another Independent MLA in the 40-member Assembly. A lone National Congress Party MLA has also offered conditional support to the Sawant-led government.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Gaonkar said that he was "disillusioned" with the comments of Sawant and Goa BJP General Secretary Damodar Naik on his alleged land deals and lobbying efforts to relocate the Indian Institute of Technology-Goa campus to his Sanguem Assembly constituency.

"I am submitting a letter on withdrawal of support to this government to the Goa Governor. The Chief Minister and BJP leaders have made false accusations against me on land deals. They can set up an inquiry into land deals I have carried out in my constituency," Gaonkar said.

On Monday, Gaonkar had urged the government to consider setting up the IIT campus in his constituency, amid protests from residents of Melaulim village in North Goa's Sattari sub district, who have objected to hurried land acquisition processes adopted by the Goa government to set up the institute.

In response, Sawant had said that Gaonkar's overture was made due to alleged land deals made by the Independent legislator in his constituency.

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