Goa: Manohar Parrikar to face floor test, Congress cries foul
Panaji : Manohar Parrikar, who was sworn-in as Goa Chief Minister for the fourth time, will be facing floor test in the assembly on Thursday. The Congress, on the other hand, is accusing the BJP of "subverting democracy" and "nullifying people's mandate" by staking claim to form new governments in Manipur and Goa before it could do so as the single-largest party, many, within and outside the Congress, are questioning its own failure to seize the opportunity.
Despite winning the most number of seats in both the states -- 28 in 60-member Manipur Assembly and 17 in 40-member Goa Assembly -- the Congress failed to form government in any of the states.
In Goa, the Congress was outsmarted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won only 13 seats but managed to cobble a majority by garnering the support of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP) with three lawmakers each and two of the three elected Independent MLAs.
In the meanwhile, the leaders of the Congress were busy squabbling over the choice of it's legislative party leader.
The Congress leaders, including party General Secretary Digvijaya Singh and top state politicians, camped at the iconic Mandovi hotel in Panaji, where for five hours they wrangled over the choice of the CLP leader, apart from waiting for Vijai Sardesai of the GFP and other Independents.
The Congress' state unit President Luizinho Faleiro, former Chief Ministers Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane, were potential candidates for the post, but each camp and their proxies rejected each other, wasting precious time.
There was even a secret ballot to select the CLP leader -- an exercise results of which were incidentally kept a secret from the media and the party's junior MLAs.
By the evening, frustrated Congress leaders stepped out of the hotel, with Taleigao MLA Jennifer Monserrate even blaming the party's "Delhi leaders" for losing the opportunity to select a CLP leader and forge a ruling coalition.
Vishwajit P. Rane, the Congress MLA from Valpoi and son of Pratapsingh Rane, had also announced that he was quitting the party. He blamed the party leaders for not moving fast and scuttling the Congress' chances of forming the government in Goa.
He asked: "Nitin Gadkari could take the decision, why not our seniors?"
Congress General Secretary in-charge of Goa Digvijaya Singh had in the morning tweeted: We have been requesting Governor of Goa (Mridula Sinha) for appointment since March 12 night but were not given. Today (Tuesday) we sought appointment for 10:30 a.m., but she has given us time for 1.30 p.m."
"She didn't even meet the single-largest party elected by the people of Goa before calling Parrikar to take oath. Is it justice? Is it Constitutional? Doesn't it violate the Sarkaria Commission guidelines? Is it Moral," asked Singh.
Refusing to interfere with the Goa Governor's decision to appoint Manohar Parrikar as the new Chief Minister, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that a floor test be held in the assembly on Thursday to determine if Parrikar enjoyed the majority support.
The Congress had accused Mridula of acting unilaterally and inviting the BJP to form a government in Goa, without even meeting the 17 elected leaders of the Congress.