‘Single largest party’: Congress, RJD cite Karnataka decision, to stake claim to govts in Goa, Bihar
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‘Single largest party’: Congress, RJD cite Karnataka decision, to stake claim to govts in Goa, Bihar

Citing the Karnataka governor’s decision, Congress said that it had the strength to form a government in Goa. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav too wanted the Bihar governor to invite his party to form a government in the state as they were the ‘single largest party’ in the 2015 assembly elections.

india Updated: May 17, 2018 23:56 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Patna
Karnataka government formation,Karnataka,BJP
BCongress and JD(S) leaders stage dharna in front of Gandhi Statue near Vidhan Sabha in Bengaluru to protest against Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to BJP to form the government.(Arijit Sen/ HT Photo)

The Congress plans to protest against Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the government and the swearing -in of BS Yeddyurappa as chief minister by observing Friday as ‘Save Democracy Day.’

The party plans to hold demonstrations across the country, and even stake a claim to forming the government in Goa, where it emerged as the single largest party in the 2017 elections, but was trumped by a BJP-led alliance.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) said it would stake a claim to forming government in Bihar on the same grounds as the BJP — that it had emerged as the single largest party in the 2015 elections.

In Karnataka, the BJP, with 104 seats in an assembly with an effective strength of 222, eight short of a majority, staked its claim to forming a government and was invited by the governor to do so, ahead of a Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine which has 116 seats. The governor also gave the BJP’s Yeddyurappa a fortnight to prove his majority on the floor of the house. The Congress petitioned the Supreme Court, which will hear the matter on Friday.

“I along with RJD and Congress legislators would meet Governor Satyapal Malik at 1 pm on Friday and stake claim to form the government in Bihar,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav told reporters in Patna. “If Yeddyurappa got a chance to form the government in Karnataka, why is the RJD being deprived? Why are there two yardsticks for Karnataka and Bihar?” he asked.

BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain mocked the young RJD leader’s outburst, advising him to go among the people and gauge the “declining” popularity of his party instead of wasting his own time as well as that of the Governor. He also described the Congress decision to back the JD(S) in Karnataka as an opportunistic move, aimed at achieving power through back door.

In the 2015 assembly elections in Bihar, the RJD emerged as the single-largest party with 80 seats. In the 243-member House, the Janata Dal (United) of chief minister Nitish Kumar has 70 legislators followed by the BJP with 53. The Congress’ strength stands at 27. The RJD formed a coalition government with the Congress and Janata Dal (United) after the 2015 elections. Last year, Kumar parted ways with his coalition partners and formed a government with the BJP.

Analysts said the Congress protest in Goa and the RJD’s in Bihar were both unlikely to achieve much more than making a point because the ruling alliances in both states have proven their majority.

In Goa, Congress legislators led by Chandrakant Kavlekar will meet Governor Mridula Sinha on Friday and stake a claim to forming the government. A formal letter containing signatures of all the 16 Congress legislators will also be submitted to the Governor.

In the assembly elections last year, the Congress bagged 17 seats in the 40-member House.

The BJP, which got 14 seats, formed the government in alliance with the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both of which had secured three seats each. Three Independents also went with the BJP. The Congress didn’t stake its claim then.

The Congress party’s Goa in-charge Chella Kumar has been rushed to Panaji to supervise the move.

Giving details about the Friday protests, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters that senior party leaders and workers would protest against the Karnataka Governor’s move in different parts of the country.

Yadav alleged that the present situation in the country was worse than during the Emergency days in the mid-1970s and called upon all the opposition forces to unite in the fight against the BJP’s “arm-twisting methods to usurp” power.

“All opposition parties should stage a demonstration in Bengaluru against the unconstitutional method adopted to allow the BJP to form government in Karnataka,” he said. “The BJP is using all unconstitutional methods to form government by throttling democracy and misusing agencies, be it the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), Enforcement Directorate or income tax department to intimidate rivals.”

With PTI inputs

First Published: May 17, 2018 17:27 IST