Goa's chief minister-designate Manohar Parrikar and his assorted team spent sleepless night as the Congress knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court, challenging Goa Governor Mridula Sinha’s decision to invite Parrikar to form the new government. Goa delivered a fractured mandate. Congress party with 17 seats emerged the single largest party in the 40-member state legislative Assembly. The BJP which ruled the state for five years ended up with 13 seats.
The swift overnight development, as soon as the results were announced, ensured that the Parrikar-led BJP managed to get invite to form the government even before the Congress party elect its legislative party leader.
The BJP has submitted letters of support from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward (GF) party which won three seats each, besides two of the three Independents, enabling it cross the halfway mark. Parrikar was asked to prove his majority on the floor of the house within 15 days.
Eyes are fixed on how the apex court views this development and whether inviting Parrikar to form the new government can be held legitimate by it when it takes up for hearing a petition filed by the newly elected Congress legislative party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar.
Chief Justice JS Khehar agreed to set up a special bench which will hear the petition at 10.30 am.
The Congress party is seeking cancellation of the gubernatorial invite to Parrikar. Parrikar along with an assorted Cabinet is scheduled to be sworn-in Tuesday evening.
The apex court bench may essentially have to examine legality of the procedure with set constitutional norms. Congress party’s petition has quoted censure of the then Bihar governor Buta Singh’s recommendation to the Centre to dissolve the Assembly without giving Nitish Kumar, leader of the single largest party, chance to prove his majority.
“The entire objective 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,” the petition filed on behalf of Kavlekar states.
Whether the Supreme Court stays the oath-taking ceremony will be interesting to watch. The only thing that may go in favour of Parrikar is that the Congress party did not bother to stake claim to form the new government, taking its time to elect the leader of a faction-ridden party that had more than four chief ministerial claimants.
The Congress party, however, has so far failed to state where and how it is going to get support of minimum for legislators to cross the majority mark.
Depending upon which way the apex court views the Goa development, there is a strong possibility that Goa may be headed for a brief spell of President’s Rule since the new Assembly must be constituted before 18 March.
Updated Date: Mar 14, 2017 10:31 AM