BJP stakes claim in Goa; Congress calls it murder of democracy

Manohar Parrikar resigned as Defence Minister on Sunday and staked claim to form a BJP-led government in Goa, with allies agreeing to his leadership; single largest party Congress protests

Photo by Arun Mondhe/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Arun Mondhe/Hindustan Times via Getty Images


The Bharatiya Janata Party led by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today staked claim to form the next government in Goa under his leadership, with the support of the NCP, smaller outfits and independents. Parrikar will be the Chief Minister of the coalition government.

Parrikar called upon Governor Mridula Sinha in the evening with letters of support from three members each of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), two Independents and a lone NCP MLA, taking the tally of the coalition to 22.

With this, the BJP which has won 13 seats has cobbled up the requisite number needed to reach the magic figure in the 40-member House, which had thrown up a hung verdict. The Congress has emerged the single largest party with 17 seats.

Union minister and the BJP's election in-charge for Goa, Nitin Gadkari said, "Parrikar will resign as the Defence Minister before taking oath as Chief Minister of Goa."

GFP leader Vijai Sardesai told media persons they are extending support to the BJP to provide stable government in the coastal state. "We are supporting BJP to have stability in the government. We don't want development of the state to hinder due to instability," he said.

The MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar said his party has supported the BJP on the condition that only Parrikar heads the state government. "We have given the letter of support to the BJP only because of Parrikar. Without him, we would not have supported the BJP to form the next government," he said.

State party unit chief Vinay Tendulkar said, "The BJP central leadership has agreed on Parrikar to head the BJP legislature wing following which the decision to stake claim to form government was taken."

Congress leaders including Digvijaya Singh, AICC General Secretary in charge of Goa, protested. Singh accused Parrikar of "hijacking" the popular mandate. "It is absolutely wrong on the part of the BJP to grab power when the mandate was given to the Congress by the voters (by virtue of being the single largest party)," AICC General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said. Prabhakar Timble, president of Goa Forward, resigned, saying that his party had fought the election on an anti-BJP plank.

In Manipur too, Congress leaders expressed anger as BJP made it clear it would attempt to form the government, despite ending up behind the Congress in terms of seats. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged subterfuge on the part of the BJP.

The National People's Party and LJP, both NDA constituents at the Centre and who won four seats and one seat respectively, formally extended their support to the BJP on Sunday. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told a press conference in Imphal, "We have been able to come to an understanding with the NPP and the Lok Janshakti Party in our bid to form the government in Manipur." Despite the backing of these five MLAs, BJP, which has won 21 seats in the 60-member assembly, will require the backing of five more to reach the magic figure of 31. Madhav said that as per an "understanding" with another NDA partner Naga People's Front, which has won four seats, the number would go up to 30 and the support of one more MLA would be "secured".

However in Manipur, Congress had emerged the single largest party with 28 seats.

With inputs by NH National Bureau.

This article was updated at 11.21 pm on March 12.

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Published: 12 Mar 2017, 10:13 PM