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Goa Assembly Floor Test Highlights: Manohar Parrikar gets 4th term as CM, trashes allegations of horse-trading

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is set to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly today. Parrikar, who stepped down as Defence Minister to shift to Goa, was sworn-in along with nine ministers on Tuesday.

FP Politics March 16, 2017 12:52:11 IST
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Goa Assembly Floor Test Highlights: Manohar Parrikar gets 4th term as CM, trashes allegations of horse-trading

Highlights

10:42 (ist)

If Manohar Parrikar wins, the governor stands vindicated or else Congress gets to form govt

All eyes are on Panjim right now where the Goa Legislative Assembly is scheduled to have a floor test on Thursday to see if Manohar Parrikar, recently appointed as the state's chief minister, can survive a vote of confidence in the House. 

The governor of a state has a unique constitutional role in our system of Westminster style democracy. The role is similar to the president at the Centre. The role of the governor at the end of the day is to ensure that there is a stable government that can pass a budget and ensure supply as without passing a budget the government will stop and only the legislature can raise money. 

So this does not become a point of who is legally authorised to hold office or not, when adjudicating these matters there are many factors at play, the cold hard letter of the law, the changing tides of democracy and the practicality of having to form of a government. So when courts get involved, the results that come out often times don't always stick to precedent like clockwork.

So while, there may be many legal disputes as to how best a governor should act, sometimes effective and quick rulings are better for a democracy than cold hard letters of the law. The law states that the chief minister is a member of the house, who is appointed by the governor and holds the confidence of the House.  READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

10:32 (ist)

Dissent rises in Congress as Goa leaders appear miffed with high command

Son of veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Pratapsinh Rane, Vishwajeet Rane questioned his party's "delayed" decision lecting the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader.

"Ideally, the CLP leader should have been elected immediately (after the poll results). Party's Goa Incharge has done this mismanagement. I will meet Rahul Gandhi before taking any further step. I am hopeful that Rahul ji will give us justice. If he does not respond, then we will feel that we are not in right party and we will take decision after consulting our workers. We will have to quit the Congress if such kind of behaviour continues."

10:13 (ist)

I am smiling because I am confident Parrikar will lose trust vote: Digvijaya Singh

In an interview with NDTV, Congress leader and in-charge for Goa elections, Digvijaya Singh said that he was confident Parrikar would lose the trust vote. "There is no crisis as far as Goa and Manipur are concerned. The High Command had fully authorised the General Secretaries in charge to take decision and there was no interference."

Under fire from his own party members for mismanagement, Singh told NDTV, "If you are seeing me smiling, that shows confidence. We will defeat the motion."

15:01 (ist)

Goa political heat reaches Delhi; Opposition stages walkout in Lok Sabha

Congress and its UPA allies on Tuesday staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha to protest the alleged efforts to install BJP government in Goa and Manipur despite it having the numbers.

Members of Congress, NCP and RJD raised the issue during Question Hour. Congress leader in the House Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that democracy is being murdered.

12:00 (ist)

Supreme Court rules floor test today

The tussle for government formation in Goa reached the Supreme Court, with the state Congress legislative party leader challenging the invitation extended by Governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday to BJP leader Manohar Parrikar to form government. During the hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, ordered an immediate floor test in Goa.

The Supreme Court bench also observed that numbers should determine the single largest party in Goa and the bench asked the Congress why they didn't approach the governor to stake claim to form the government. The SC also asked the Congress to show the numbers.

11:38 (ist)

Major grounds raised by Congress in their petition

Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar's petition challenging Governor Mridula Sinha's decision to appoint Manohar Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister, has plunged the state in a new political crisis. The Supreme Court hearing is underway, but here are the major points raised in the petition. 

- The Governor has blatantly violated the Constitution by inviting the BJP to form the Government and has scheduled to administer the oath of office to the unelected Chief Minister

- Governor's move, a complete "departure from the Sarkaria Commission as well as MM Punchhi commission recommendations, requiring her to invite the single largest party (in this case the Indian National Congress) to form the government, has acted with utmost haste."

-"The entire object of this hasty late night political maneuvering by the powers that be is to defeat the mandate of the people and to somehow grab power by misusing the office of the Governor."

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:48 (IST)

Parrikar dismisses allegations against BJP

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:45 (IST)

It is a government of coalition: Parrikar 

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:41 (IST)

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:38 (IST)

WATCH: Manohar Parrikar addresses media in Panaji

"We have won the floor test, debunking Digvijaya's claim that they have the numbers. This is what happens when you come to Goa to have fun."

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:37 (IST)

Congress party legislator Vishwajit Rane did not vote

The Manohar Parrikar-led coalition government in Goa proved its majority in the Goa Assembly, legitimising its existence.

Pro-tem speaker Sidharth Kuncalienkar announced victory of the Parrikar government after the floor test.

Parrikar government got support of 22 legislators, excluding the pro-tem speaker who was not required to cast his vote, while the Congress could manage only 17 votes.

In a major embarrassment, newly-elected Congress party legislator Vishwajit Rane did not vote, giving signals that all is not well with the Congress party. He walked out of the House after taking oath as legislator. 

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:32 (IST)

Manohar Parrikar govt proves majority 

BJP got the support of 22 MLAs, 16 were opposed and one was absent during the Goa floor test. Parrikar has the challenge of assigning the portfolios.

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:27 (IST)

Manohar Parrikar govt wins with 22 votes, Congress manages 16

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:24 (IST)

Congress raises questions over selection of pro-tem speaker

While BJP has numbers by its side to sail through today’s floor test without any hiccups, the rival Congress party is raising questions over selection of pro-tem speaker Sidharth Kuncalienkar, BJP legislator from Panaji seat.

Kuncalienkar was sworn in as the pro-tem speaker by Governor Mridula Sinha on Wednesday. He will continue in the post until the assembly elects its new Speaker, likely to take place couple of days before the Manohar Parrikar government presents its budget sometime next week.

Kuncalienkar, who worked as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Parrikar while he was Goa chief minister from 2012 to 2014 before he moved to the centre as Indian defence minister, was elected to the assembly from Parrikar’s Panaji seat in 2015 in by-election. He retained the seat defeating thus far unconquered Atanasio Monserrate of the UGP by little over 1000 votes.

Kuncalienkar is expected to vacate the Panaji seat for Parrikar, enabling him contest the by-election and become member of the legislative assembly within six months of his appointment. Indian constitution allows a non-member to run the government for maximum six months.

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:18 (IST)

Mar 16, 2017 - 12:16 (IST)

MGP and GFP won't vote themselves out of power

It is highly unlikely that BJP’s new-found partners will vote themselves out of power. All three legislators of the Goa Front are already ministers, two-each among three Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP) and thee Independents gave been accommodated in the Manohar Parrikar government as cabinet ministers.
 

BJP claims, it enjoys support of 22 legislators, including its own 13 MLA. It had submitted letters supporting its claim of 21 legislators to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday. Since then another Independent legislator Prasad Gaonkar, MLA from Sanguem constituency, has joined the ruling coalition. There are indications that former chief minister and the lone Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Churchill Alemao, who won South Goa’s Benaulim seat, may also vote in favour of Parrikar government, helping it sail through the floor test ordered by the Supreme Court on Tuesday easily.

Manohar Parrikar, who quit as Defence Minister, was sworn in as chief minister of Goa on Tuesday to head a coalition government of local allies and Independents, three days after the BJP ended up second behind the Congress in a fractured mandate. The Congress, on Tuesday morning, suffered a setback in the Supreme Court which refused to stay 61-year-old Parrikar's swearing-in ceremony as sought by the party.

According to the directions of the apex court, Parrikar, who claimed to have support of 21 MLAs including 13 of the BJP, will have to prove majority on the floor of the assembly on March 16. The decks for his swearing-in were cleared after a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar refused to grant the stay on the Congress' plea and ordered a floor test.

The bench directed that the assembly session be called at 11 am on 16 March exclusively for holding of the floor test after swearing-in of the members. Parrikar returned to Goa as the chief minister for the fourth time, though he could not complete full terms in his earlier stints. He had formally staked claim to form the coalition government on Sunday, following which he got an invite from Governor Mridula Sinha to prove majority in House.

At a function held at the Raj Bhavan, the governor administered the oath of office and secrecy to Parrikar along with nine MLAs including two members of the BJP, three of the Goa Forward Party, two of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and as many Independents. They will be allotted ministerial portfolios after the floor test. Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his best wishes to Parrikar on becoming the chief minister of Goa and hoped that he will take the state to new heights of progress.

Addressing reporters later, Parrikar exuded confidence that his government will last its full term. "I would prove majority on the floor of the House on Thursday only after which the portfolios would be distributed to the ministers who are inducted in the cabinet. The day after tomorrow, the procedure of proving majority on the floor of the House would be completed," he said.

Goa Assembly Floor Test Highlights Manohar Parrikar gets 4th term as CM trashes allegations of horsetrading

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar's show of strength in state assembly today. PTI

Parrikar said the regional parties have taken the lead to form this government and have requested him to head the dispensation by resigning as defence minister. "My priority would be to retain speciality of Goa that is Goanness. The statement about the common minimum programme (CMP) would be issued within a month," he said. The BJP leader, who is an IIT-Bombay alumnus, said they have the support of 22 MLAs in total.

"There was a speculation for last two days whether BJP really got the majority required to form the government and here we are, we have 22 legislators with us," he said. Among the allies who took oath along with Parrikar are Ramakrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar and Manohar Asgaonkar (both MGP), Vijai Sardesai, Jayesh Salgaoncar and Vinod Palyekar (all GFP), and Independents Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gawade.

The two BJP MLAs who were sworn in are outgoing deputy chief minister Francis D'Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar. BJP president Amit Shah along with Union ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari were present at the ceremony. Parrikar, who had served as the chief minister between 2000-2002, 2002-2005 and 2012-2014, said he would discuss the allocation of portfolios with his colleagues.

"Though the mandate was fractured, all the alliance partners have come together to take the number to 22 in the Assembly. "I agree that the mandate is fractured. But if every fraction of fractured mandate comes together we become 22. The lead for (effecting) the post-poll coalition was taken by the regional parties and not me," he said replying to a query.

Parrikar said the Independent candidates and the local parties, who have extended support to the BJP-led government, had set a pre-condition that "Prime Minister Narendra Modi should relieve me as Defence Minister and send me back to Goa as CM." He said the BJP's alliance partners have taken this decision in the larger interest of Goa.

"Their support is only for the sake of Goa's development and state's speciality which is called as 'goenkarponn' (Goanness). I am very thankful to them for the support," he said.

On the Congress approaching the Supreme Court saying they had the first right to form government by virtue of being the largest party, Parrikar said, "the court had specifically told them (Congress) to go to governor if they have majority with them. No one has stopped them (Congress) from approaching Governor with the majority support."

Parrikar's anointment came amid an intense tug-of-war between the BJP and the Congress, which has questioned the legitimacy of the saffron party's bid to power given it has failed to secure the popular mandate.

Earlier in the day, the Congress alleged the governor did not invite it to form government in the coastal state despite the party giving her a letter on Sunday seeking appointment to stake the claim.

"We wanted to stake the claim on March 12 itself. We had given her the letter on that day itself but still she (Governor) did not give us an appointment," AICC General Secretary Digvijaya Singh told reporters here, after chairing a meeting of the Goa Congress Legislature Party.

Meanwhile, a day after submitting a representation to the governor asking her to invite the party to form government, the Goa Congress today called on the governor with all its newly-elected 17 MLAs to seek an opportunity to prove majority in the assembly, but could not get any assurance from her.

The MLAs led by Congress Legislature Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar held talks with the governor at Raj Bhavan for about half-an-hour arguing that being the single largest party, the Congress should have been called first to form the government.

"We requested the governor that the Congress be given an opportunity to form the government. Allowing Parrikar to be sworn in is against the Constitution. We have majority on our side," Goa Congress Chief Luizinho Faleiro told reporters outside Raj Bhavan. "The governor told us that she would take a decision as per her wisdom," he said.

With inputs from agencies

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