‘Dismiss Parrikar govt’: Congress stakes claim in Goa, BJP in huddle
With Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ailing, the Goa Congress has written to Governor Mridula Sinha asking her to dismiss the BJP-led coalition regime and invite the party to form the government in the state. The Congress said, “the numbers of the BJP may further dwindle” in the Goa Assembly.
In a letter addressed to the Governor, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar has pointed out that the “incumbent BJP led state government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, which has long lost the trust of the people, has also lost the strength of the house.”
“It is therefore incumbent upon you to dismiss this state government and ensure that the Indian National Congress Party which is the single largest party in the august house and is presently enjoying the majority be called to form the government,” Kavlekar says in his letter.
The BJP has called a meeting of its MLAs at 7.30 pm today, possibly to discuss the situation in the state.
The Congress was the single largest party with 17 MLAs when the election results were declared in February 2017. But the party lost three MLAs to the BJP, which formed the government in the state after shifting then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar from New Delhi to Goa as chief minister.
Vishwajit Rane was the first Congress MLA to quit and he was welcomed into the BJP and made a minister before he was reelected. Two other Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar quit the party in October last year to join the BJP. They are facing a by-election along with the Lok Sabha elections bringing the BJP on par with the Congress at 14 MLAs each.
However, with the demise of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza in February this year, the Congress once again became the single largest party in the house. In October last year too, the Congress staked claim to form the government and called for a floor test but its request was ignored by the Governor.
The claim to form the government comes at a time when reports have indicated that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s health has taken a turn for the worse. The Chief Minister’s Office has however stated that he “continues to be stable.”
Besides the ailing Parrikar, another BJP MLA Pandurang Madkaikar is unwell and hasn’t been seen since he suffered a stroke in June last year leaving the Congress in a pole position if the government needs to prove its majority.
The Congress has also warned that “any action in violation of the constitutional mandate to invite the single largest party to form the government and any attempt to bring the state under President’s Rule will be undemocratic and illegal and will be challenged as deemed fit.”
The BJP has a strength of 12 fit MLAs (not including Parrikar and Madkaikar) and in addition, enjoys the support of three each from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Goa Forward Party and three independents. The Congress has 14 MLAs on its side while the strength of the house now stands at 37 (including Parrikar and Madkaikar).