The Congress in Goa on Thursday faced a major embarrassment on the floor of the Legislative Assembly during the vote of confidence motion moved by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar when its legislator Vishwajit Rane remained absent, reducing the party’s strength to 16.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday requested Goa Governor Mridula Sinha to hold a floor test in the Assembly on Thursday for parties to prove their majority.
As the floor test was in progress, Protem Speaker Sidharth Kuncolienkar asked those opposed to the motion to stand up. The Congress could muster only 16 votes, against 17, as Mr. Rane — former Minister and son of seniormost Congress legislator and former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane — was absent.
Later, Mr. Kuncoliekar told The Hindu that the vote count, though declared by him on the floor of the House was 22/16, his support would be counted while sending a report to the Supreme Court. Thus it will be 23/16.
Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Babu Kavlekar expressed complete ignorance about the whereabouts of Mr. Rane. He said Mr. Rane would be asked to explain his absence and action would be taken accordingly as Mr. Rane had signed the Whip issued by the party.
Mr. Kavlekar said that even though they tried to contact Mr. Rane during the confidence motion and even after the proceedings of the House, he was not reachable.
“His father also did not know why he was absent and about his whereabouts,” said Mr. Kavelkar.
Meanwhile, Mr. Rane declared to local media that he will resign as Congress MLA and get elected on a ticket from local outfit Sattari Yuva Morcha and support the Parrikar government.
Later in the day, Mr. Rane, addressing the media, said he had decided to quit as MLA and from the Congress. He had pointed out that it would not be possible for him to remain in the Congress after the fiasco that took place in the name of government formation despite the Congress being the single largest party in the recent Assembly elections.
When asked if he would be joining Parrikar Ministry, he said it was up to the Chief Minister and he was not in a position to comment on it.
Mr. Rane had attacked Digvijaya Singh, without naming him for the failure of the party, saying Central leaders messed up the opportunity to form a government in time.
Mr. Singh retaliated to it on Wednesday, questioning Mr. Rane's loyalty to the Congress and asked him to explain what he was doing with Mr. Parrikar in a city hotel on Tuesday.