Parrikar takes oath in Goa as SC declines Cong. plea

March 14, 2017 05:47 pm | Updated March 15, 2017 02:32 am IST - New Delhi/Panaji

Manohar Parrikar, centre, with Amit Shah, right, and Nitin Gadkari at the swearing-in ceremony.

Manohar Parrikar, centre, with Amit Shah, right, and Nitin Gadkari at the swearing-in ceremony.

Hours after the Supreme Court refused the Congress plea to stay the swearing-in of Manohar Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister, the BJP leader took charge in Panaji on Tuesday evening, along with a nine-member team. The court, however, requested Governor Mridula Sinha to hold a floor test in the Assembly on March 16.

The Congress had moved the SC on March 13, claiming that the Governor’s decision to appoint Mr. Parrikar as Chief Minister without consulting it — the single largest party — was a “brazen” misuse of constitutional office.

On Tuesday too, the Congress and the BJP continued to spar over efforts at government formation in Goa and Manipur, both inside and outside Parliament. Members of the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal staged a walkout twice after being refused permission to discuss the issue in the Lok Sabha by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

While the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge termed the BJP’s efforts to shore up support and the actions of the Raj Bhavans a “murder of democracy,” outside the House Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said it amounted to “undermining democracy.”

Jaitley upset

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was present in the Lok Sabha when Mr. Kharge sought to raise the issue, asked for the Speaker’s permission to respond as Mr. Kharge had used “strong language.”

The Speaker, however, assured the Minister that the remarks would not be taken on record.

Later, after the two walkouts by the Congress on the issue, Mr. Jaitley took to Facebook to take on the Congress’ charge.

In a blog entitled “Largest Single Party Vs A Combination with Majority Support” he accused the Congress of “complaining too much” over the events in Manipur and Goa. “The Assembly elections in Goa produced an inconclusive verdict, there was a hung Assembly. The BJP managed to form an alliance and presented to the Governor 21 out of 40 MLAs. The Congress did not even submit a claim to the Governor [as] it had the support of only 17 MLAs,” he wrote.

He also gave instances where this rule was invoked and Congress or Congress-backed governments came to power. “In 2005, BJP won 30 out of 81 seats in Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Shri Shibu Soren, with the support of 17 of his own MLAs plus others was invited to form the government. In 2002, in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference had 28 MLAs but the Governor invited the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress combinations of 15 + 21 MLAs to form the government,” he said.

He also quoted former President K.R. Narayanan’s communiqué from March 1998, which said, “when no party or pre-election alliance of parties is in a clear majority, the Head of State has in India or elsewhere, given the first opportunity to the leader of the party or the combination of parties that has won the largest number of seats subject to the Prime Ministers so appointed obtaining majority support on the floor of the House within a stipulated time. This procedure, however, is not an all-time formula because situations can arise where MPs not belonging to the single largest party or combination can, as a collective entity, out-number the single largest claimant. The President’s choice of Prime Minister is pivoted on the would-be Prime Minister’s claim of commanding majority support,” he said.

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