Chief minister Manohar Parrikar won a crucial trust vote in the state assembly on Thursday, with 22 legislators backing the BJP-led coalition to bring down curtains on the drama over the government formation process.
Parrikar, who has stepped down as the defence minister, was sworn in as the CM for the fourth time on Tuesday evening along with nine ministers. But the Supreme Court ordered an immediate trust vote since his party, the BJP, finished second in the recently concluded assembly elections.
In Thursday’s floor test, the BJP had the support of 12 of its own MLAs – excluding pro-tem speaker Sidharth Kuncalienker -- three each from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party, three independent lawmakers and a Nationalist Congress Party legislator.
Catch live updates here:
3.30pm: MLA Vishwajit Rane submits his resignation as MLA and from the Congress party. Pro-tem speaker asks him to rethink, reports ANI.
2.30pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari calls the Goa government formation a “fair deal” and that no wrong was committed.
2.20pm: On Congress MLA Vishwajit Rane’s absence from the Goa assembly just as the trust vote began, Congress legislative party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar says, “We tried to find out if he was in the washroom but could not find him. Even his father doesn’t know where he is.”
He says attempts were made to contact him but Rane was “untraceable”. “He was with us since morning and signed on a whip too,” Kavlekar says.
1.30pm: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar tells ANI, “there is a need to bring change in the Congress leadership.” The party is losing relevance in Indian politics, he adds.
1.20pm: Manohar Parrikar tells NDTV that he would’ve liked his party to have been in a better position, when asked whether he had any apprehensions ahead of the vote. He rubbishes Congress’ allegations that support was bought and says, “Digvijaya Singh needs to be introspect and find the real problem in the Congress party.”
On leaving the defence ministry post, Parrikar says it is “something I definitely miss. I have never said I did not like leading the defence ministry. I said I don’t like Delhi.”
12.53pm: “Money power proves to be stronger than people’s power,” tweets Congress in-charge of the state Digvijaya Singh.
People of Goa defeated BJP but those who got elected on anti BJP vote sold Goa to BJP. Sad.— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) March 16, 2017
12.45pm: “Goa first and fast forward,” says Parrikar.
He says that it is a government of coalition and that decisions will be taken by the coalition on appointing a deputy CM.
12.43pm: “I don’t want to comment on MLAs from other parties,” says Parrikar, when asked whether Congress’ Rane pledged support to him. Tells reporters that a cabinet meeting has been scheduled for Friday.
“I have not cleared policy decision files yet. Thought it appropriate since the vote of confidence had to be complied with, not because I was under pressure,” says Parrikar.
12.40pm: “We have proved before the people of India that we had the support of 23 and we proved it on the floor of House. Digvijaya’s claims that they have numbers, debunked. Right from the beginning they didn’t have numbers,” says Parrikar, addressing a press conference after the trust vote.
“Everyone voluntarily came and voted, none of them were kept in a hotel room or secluded common place as was the case of opposition,” he says.
12.30pm: Congress leader Vishwajit Rane was not present in the assembly at the time of taking votes.
12.22pm: BJP wins trust vote in the Goa assembly with the support of 22 MLAs. (NCP MLA also supports them).
12.00pm: Congress’ Ravi Naik walks to the well of the house to take oath, asks Parrikar with an indication of the hand whether everything is fine.
Sudin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) takes oath. Goa Forward’s Vijai Sardesai is also sworn in.
11.30am: Dayanand Sopte of the Congress party who registered a record win against Laxmikant Parsekar in Mandrem constituency sworn in first.
11.20am: Floor test to begin after MLAs are sworn in.
11.00am: After Amarinder Singh’s swearing in as the chief minister of Punjab, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi once again raises allegations that the BJP wrested control in Manipur and Goa using money.
“We won the assembly polls in Manipur, Goa and Punjab. BJP used money for forming government in Goa and Manipur. They have stolen the government,” Gandhi said.
10.45am: Another Congress leader, Pratap Singh Rane, announces that the party will prove majority in the floor test. “We have the people with us,” he says.
10.30am: “The Congress has over-invested in Luizinho Faleiro. The defeat of Congress in Goa is because of him,” says Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, which pledged support to the BJP. He goes on to say: “The Congress can never take any decision as the infighting between them is immense. It is filled with grandfathers who are ex-chief ministers.
10.00am: “We are confident and we will prove the numbers,” says Vishwajit Rane of the Congress party, who has arrived at the state assembly.
9.45am: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has told NDTV: “We will defeat the motion.”
9.32am: Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar reaches state assembly.
8.00am: Parrikar has been the chief minister twice before and has also been credited with strengthening the BJP in the coastal state.
7.30am: Congress leader Om Prakash Mishra tells ANI: “This swearing-in ceremony of Manohar Parrikar as the chief minister of Goa is a big scam and BJP has resorted to unfair means. Throughout Goa people are protesting as to why the saffron party did such a low act to come to power, and why is the media not showing all this?”
“People of Goa are against the BJP; even after losing in the state they still won over only because of money power and by using the resources of the central government all in the wrong way just to make Manohar Parrikar the CM. This party will not last, as they are totally scripted and show dishonesty in politics.”
7.15am: Parrikar has expressed confidence that he will be able to prove his majority in the Goa assembly. “The number is very clear. So, I don’t see any reason that there has to be any apprehension,” he said on Wednesday.
Spotlight on Parrikar
The trust vote was ordered by the Supreme Court after the Congress complained that the governor had broken laws by not inviting the single-largest party to form the government.
Goa voted a hung House in the recently concluded assembly elections, with the Congress getting the most seats (17 in the 40-member assembly). But the BJP, which finished second with 13 seats, beat the Congress in forming a ruling alliance.
Parrikar acknowledged his party’s below-par performance in Goa in the five-state elections that saw the BJP registering landslide victories in Uttarakhand and the battleground state of Uttar Pradesh.
The loss of many ministers in Goa indicates that there was something wrong in the governance in the past two and half years, Parrikar told news agency ANI. “...let me identify that aspect,” ANI quoted him as saying.
Parrikar was Goa CM when he was appointed the Union defence minister in 2014. He was succeeded by Laxmikant Parsekar as chief minister, who lost his own seat this time.
Congress on offensive
The opposition party has accused the BJP of stealing the people’s mandate. Even on Wednesday, Congress’ Digvijaya Singh took a dig at Parrikar and posted on Twitter:
Congress leader Meem Afzal said misusing money and cheating were methods that the BJP had always used for political benefits.
But there are indications that not all was well in the Congress.
Days after a group of Goa leaders blamed the high command for the failure to form the government, MLA Vishwajit Rane said on Wednesday that he, along with five to six other MLAs, will quit if party vice-president Rahul Gandhi did not respond adequately.
Rane and his group of legislators wrote a letter to Rahul Gandhi complaining about the senior Congress leadership. Rane asserted that it was shocking how the whole situation was mismanaged by people in charge of the affairs in Goa.
(With inputs from agencies)