The Supreme Court has ordered a floor test be held in the Goa Assembly on March 16, following a tussle between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party over forming the government in the state. The top court on Monday had agreed to an urgent hearing of a petition filed by the Congress, challenging BJP leader and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s appointment as the chief minister of Goa.

However, the bench has allowed Parrikar to be sworn in on Tuesday. The bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar has also asked both the Congress and BJP to name a leader who can serve as the interim Speaker of the Goa Assembly.

The Congress has claimed in its plea that it should have been invited first to form government in the state, since it was now the single largest party in the Assembly. During the hearing on Tuesday, the party alleged that the BJP was engaging in horse trading and violating established Constitutional practices. Counsel for the Congress Abhishek Singhvi asserted that a governor cannot nullify the people’s mandate and not even give a call to the largest party.

The top court, however, criticised the Congress for undermining a governor’s authority to call the shots on government formation in a state. It also questioned why the party had not approached Goa Governor Mridula Sinha earlier to stake its claim to form the government, observing that only numbers should determine the single largest party in a state Assembly.

Meanwhile, the Goa Congress told that they will go to meet the governor at Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government. Following a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party, party General Secretary Digvijay Singh said only the single largest party must be called to form government in Goa. “The governor must act under the Constitution,” he said, adding that they would meet Sinha at 1.30 pm.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Congress gave an adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session over the subject of the BJP forming government in Goa and Manipur. Parrikar is scheduled to be sworn in as the chief minister at 5 pm.

Congress leaders are hopeful of garnering the support of the necessary number of MLAs in the Goa Assembly if Parrikar’s inauguration is stopped by the Supreme Court. “We will get the numbers,” a senior party functionary told

Another Congress leader alleged that they were betrayed by the Goa Forward Party on Sunday. The leader said a GFP member had approached the BJP while the party was already engaged in negotiations with the Congress.

Although the Congress won 17 of the 40 seats in the Goa Assembly, the BJP, which won from 13 constituencies, garnered the support of three Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLAs, three Goa Forward Party MLAs and two Independent legislators.