Seeking replication of the Karnataka example set by Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress on Thursday decided to stake claim to form government in Goa, where it had emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly polls last year.
In the Assembly elections held in March last year, the Congress had bagged 17 seats in the 40-member House, falling short of the majority figure by four seats.
The BJP, which got 14 seats, formed the government in alliance with Goa Forward Party and MGP, both of which had secured three seats each. Three Independents also went with the BJP.
Congress Legislature Party chief Chandrakant Kavlekar said the party will stake claim on Friday by submitting to Governor Mridula Sinha a formal letter containing signatures of all the 16 party MLAs.
Kavlekar said the Goa Governor should follow the precedent set by her Karnataka counterpart and invite the single largest party to form the government “correcting her mistake of March 12, 2017”.
He was referring to the decision of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite the BJP to form the government after the Assembly election results declared on 15 May.
The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in the 222-member Karnataka Assembly, was invited by the governor despite the JD(S)-Congress combine staking claim by citing the support of 117 MLAs. The majority mark is 112 seats.
“We have 16 legislators with us and with that strength, we are the single largest party in the (Goa) Assembly. The governor should invite us to form the government in Goa as per the precedent set by her Karnataka counterpart, said Kavlekar, the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly.”
When pointed out that the Congress needs support of at least 21 legislators to stake the claim, he said that once the governor swears in the Congress chief minister, he will be able to prove his majority on the floor of the House. “The numbers will have to be proven on the floor of the House and we have that with us,” he said.
However, he did not specify how the party would muster the majority. Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar said that the governors can’t have two different set of rules.
“While in Karnataka the governor has invited single largest party, in Goa too, the same precedent should be followed,” he said.
The Congress is giving an “opportunity to Goa governor to rectify the mistake which she did last year”, Kavelkar said.
The BJP-led government in Goa is headed by Manohar Parrikar, who is currently undergoing treatment in the US for his pancreatic ailment.
Kavlekar said that in absence of the Chief Minister in the state for last two months, there is no government in place.
“The Congress will be able to provide a stable government in Goa,” the CLP leader added.
The ripple effect of Karnataka’s high-voltage drama seems to be reaching Bihar and Meghalaya as well.
As the Congress readies itself to stake its claim to form government in Goa, former deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav said that he will meet the Governor of Bihar, along with MLAs, as his party is the single largest party in Bihar.
I will meet Honourable Governor of Bihar along with MLAs as we are single largest party of Bihar.
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) May 17, 2018
However, Congress has not yet staked their claim to form government in Meghalaya, where it had emerged as the largest party by winning 21 of the 59 seats. Meghalaya elections were held in February 2018.
Congress slams Karnataka Governor
Congress leaders from across the country have criticised Karnataka Governor’s decision to invite BS Yeddyurappa to form government in Karnataka, after the state gave a fractured verdict on 15 May.
After Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited BJP legislative party leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state, a move which was slammed by the Congress, as they alleged that the JD(S)-Congress alliance had majority with 116 MLAs in the 222 member House.
The Congress had approached Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra for an urgent hearing on the matter, however, the apex court did not put a stay on the swearing-in ceremony.
Of the 222 constituencies where polling was held on 12 May, the BJP won 104, while the Congress won 78 and the JD-S 37 and BSP 1.
(with agency inputs)