Panaji: Congress legislators in Goa on Tuesday met Governor Mridula Sinha and demanded a floor test by the BJP-led government to prove its majority in the Assembly.
The move by the Opposition Congress, which has staked claim to form an alternate government, came at a time when 62-year-old Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is admitted in the AIIMS in Delhi for a pancreatic ailment.
The Congress legislators, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, demanded that the governor should summon one-day session of the Assembly for a floor test.
Kavlekar said the governor assured them that she would get back on the issue in the next three-four days.
During the meeting with the governor, the Congress MLAs contended that the Parrikar-led coalition falls short of a majority in the 40-member Assembly and that the Congress has the required numbers to form the government.
"Let the state government prove on the floor that they have majority or else we can show that we have more legislators than them," Kavlekar told reporters after meeting Sinha.
The Congress has 16 seats in the Assembly.
The state is being ruled by the BJP with the support of Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), NCP and Independents.
The BJP has 14 seats in the Assembly, GFP and MGP have three each and NCP has one. There are also three Independents.
In Delhi, Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman said the Congress move reflected the level of desperation to grab power.
"The chief minister is ill. He is not staying away from work otherwise. The Congress sees a chance as the CM is ill. It just shows what is the level of desperation (of Congress). Honestly, I feel sad for it," she said at a media interaction.
The Congress legislators also urged the governor not to allow dissolution of the Assembly.
Kavlekar said the BJP might force dissolution of the Assembly and another election in just one-and-a-half year.
The Assembly polls in the state were held in February last year.
"The BJP has a habit of recommending dissolution of the House when they dont have numbers with them. The governor should not allow such action in Goa as Congress is the single largest party in the House," Kavlekar said.
"We dont want another election within one-and-a-half years," the Congress leader added.
"If the (BJP-led) coalition can't run the government, then we are ready to take over," he said.
Kavlekar said a "race has begun within the government for chief ministership" as Parrikar is hospitalised.
"Some of the BJP leaders are in touch with us as they are upset because their own party is talking about hiring the leaders from outside for CM's post," he claimed.
Kavlekar said the Congress will announce its chief ministerial candidate when the governor summons one-day session of the Assembly to conduct a floor test.
"There is absolutely no dispute amongst us on who would be the chief minister. We will reveal the name when floor test is called," he said.
Congress Legislature Party had on Monday submitted a memorandum to the governor's office on Monday but could not meet the governor as she was out of station.
BJP leader Ram Lal, who along with two other leaders, had been deputed by the central leadership in Panaji to take stock of the political situation, had said on Monday that the Goa government is stable and no demand has been made for a change in the leadership.
He stated this after a meeting with party MLAs, former legislators and core committee members.
He said the BJP's alliance partners — the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Independents — conveyed that they will agree to any political decision taken by the saffron party.
Earlier too, the Congress had staked claim on 18 May, 2018 to form the government in Goa, citing the example of Karnataka where the largest party BJP was invited to form the government after the Assembly polls threw up a fractured verdict.
The Congress had said that it had not been invited to form the government in Goa after the Assembly polls in March last year despite it emerging as the largest single party.
The party had also met Governor on 7 September, 2018 urging her to intervene as State Administration was suffering due to sickness of the chief minister.
Updated Date: Sep 18, 2018 21:27 PM