Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of dragging its feet over forming the new government in Goa, the Congress on Friday alleged that the saffron party, by not staking claim even a week after the declaration of results, should publicly admit its inability to form the next government.
Hinting that the Congress may have covert support from some BJP MLAs, senior Congress leader and ex-Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said that a number of MLAs across party lines had approached the Congress to take lead in forming the government.
“The Congress party is open for all options to ensure that a non-BJP government is formed in Goa that will uphold the verdict of the Assembly polls,” Mr. Kamat said, speaking to reporters in Panaji.
The Congress leader observed that the BJP’s vote share of 33% proved that the majority 66% of the Goan electorate was against it.
Remarking that the Assembly results were “clearly against the 10-year misrule of the BJP”, he said that the split in Opposition votes had helped the BJP reach its tally of 20 seats.
“But this is not the majority number. While the Congress accepted the people’s mandate with the utmost humility, we expected the BJP to move ahead and form the government within two or three days of the results. However, it has failed to do so and appears to be merely buying time. It is loud and clear [that] all is not well in BJP,” Mr. Kamat, who won the Margao Assembly seat for the seventh time by a huge margin of 8,000 votes, said.
In the results to the 40-seat Goa Assembly election declared on March 10, the BJP won a decisive 20 of the 40 Assembly seats to emerge as the single-largest party, while the Congress won just 11 and its ally, the Goa Forward Party (GFP), won one. The BJP claimed it had the unconditional support of three independent candidates as well as two MLAs of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) that had allied with the Trinamool Congress in the election.
“It appears that claims of the BJP in having the support of non-BJP party MLAs [MGP] and the independents is false, malicious and misleading. We expected the BJP to move ahead and establish the new government soon after the results. We condemn their dilly-dallying tactics,” Mr. Kamat said.
While the saffron party has not been in any hurry to form the new government, all newly-elected members of the eighth Goa Legislative Assembly were sworn earlier this week on Tuesday.
“This is the first time in Goa’s political history that MLAs have been sworn-in but a government is not yet in place,” Mr. Kamat said.
The BJP leadership has already said that the new government would be formed after the Holi festivities, with speculation that caretaker Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will continue in his post for a second term.
Congress MLA Advocate Carlos Ferreira said that the situation was “a constitutional impasse” and that Mr. Sawant could not continue as the caretaker CM for several weeks in this fashion, while urging the Goa Governor to either call the BJP to prove its majority or let the Opposition stake claim to form the new government.