Congress leaders meet Goa governor, demand that Manohar Parrikar-led BJP govt should face floor test

Congress claimed that the moment the name of a new chief minister was announced, replacing Manohar Parrikar, ‘many BJP MLAs’ will resign.
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar is undergoing treatment in AIIMS, Delhi.(PTI File Photo)
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar is undergoing treatment in AIIMS, Delhi.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Sep 18, 2018 09:54 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Panaji | By Gerard de Souza

A special session of the state assembly should be convened and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told to take a floor test, the Goa Congress told Governor Mridula Sinha at their meeting on Tuesday evening. The Congress’s move comes amidst concerns over the health of 62-year-old Parrikar, who had been flown to Delhi’s AIIMS on Saturday, for treatment.

Emerging from Raj Bhavan at Dona Paula, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar told reporters that the Governor had sought four-five days to get back to them.

“The manner in which they (ruling coalition) are handling the leadership issue and the bickering … she should call a special one-day session,” Kavlekar said. Congress leaders think the party has a real chance to get the numbers to push its vote of no-confidence against the Parrikar government at such a session.

The BJP, however, insisted that there was no risk to its government.

“How can the Congress stake a claim? We have a majority. Not a single bill has failed in the assembly. Someone has to withdraw their support,” BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said.

The BJP, which has 14 seats of the 40 seats in the assembly, had stitched an alliance with regional players Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which have three seats each, after assembly elections last year. The coalition also had the support of three independent members of the House, taking its strength to 23. The majority mark was 21.

The Congress, the state’s single-largest party, has 16 seats. Plus, one seat is held by the Nationalist Congress Party, a Congress ally.

Congress leaders say the absence of three BJP ministers including Parrikar, who had been hospitalised, could bring down the majority mark.

Kavlekar hinted that the Congress could get the support from some in the treasury benches. He said some BJP legislators were reported to have been unhappy at speculation that regional parties supporting the coalition could merge with the BJP.

But it is the absence of Manohar Parrikar from Goa, the glue that held the coalition together, that has raised hopes in the Congress camp.

The Congress said the alliance partners in their letters of support to the BJP-led government had explicitly made it clear that they would support the BJP-led coalition only if Parrikar is made the Chief Minister.

“The current government is in majority only on paper. They cannot choose a leader today and they are talking of mergers with regional parties. If regional parties merge, then BJP’s own MLAs are not willing to stay back in the party,” Kavlekar said.

Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said the moment the ruling BJP takes any decision on a successor to chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the government will collapse.

“The moment a chief minister is announced it is certain that many MLAs from the BJP will resign. Therefore no permanent solution will be announced,” Chodankar said calling on the BJP to win a vote of confidence.

“The coalition partners had supported only Parrikar and not the BJP, when this unholy alliance came to power against the will of the people of Goa. In fact, the open statements made by the MGP that they will support only Parrikar as CM is enough proof that the government collapses the minute Parrikar steps down as the CM,” Chodankar said.

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