Political controversy

Karnataka results: Congress, RJD say they will stake claim to form governments in Goa, Bihar

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government in the state, despite the Congress-JD(S) alliance having a majority of seats.

The Congress on Thursday said that it would stake a claim to form the government in Goa as it has been the single-largest party in the Assembly since last year’s elections. In Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal made the same argument. The Bihar elections were held in 2015.

Both parties plan to meet the governors of their states on Friday.

Goa Congress Legislature Party chief Chandrakant Kavlekar and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav made remarks to this effect after Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government in the state. Though the BJP is the single-largest party in the 224-member Assembly with 104 seats, it is still short of a majority. The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine, however, has the required numbers.

Following this, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa took oath as the chief minister on Thursday morning. Though the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) petitioned the Supreme Court, which heard the plea during a late-night sitting on Thursday, it refused to stay Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in. It will take up the matter again on Friday.

Former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma – both from the Congress, and who belong to two states where the BJP is part of the government but not the single-largest party – have also sought appointments with the governors of their states on Friday.

The Congress has 16 MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly. The BJP has 14 MLAs, but managed to form the government with support from local parties and independents.

In Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal had won 80 seats in the 2015 elections, and formed an alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and the Congress. However, the coalition broke up in 2017, and the BJP with 53 seats supported the JD(U) to form a new government.

Kavlekar said the Congress would meet Goa Governor Mridula Sinha on Friday and submit a letter containing signatures of all 16 party MLAs, PTI reported. “The governor should invite us to form the government in Goa as per the precedent set by her Karnataka counterpart,” he added.

Kavlekar, who is also the leader of the Opposition in the Goa legislature, said that once the governor administers the oath of office to the new chief minister, he will be able to prove his majority on the floor of the House.

Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar claimed the party wanted to give the governor “an opportunity to rectify the mistake which she did last year”.

Meanwhile, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said at a press conference that party MLAs would meet Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik at 1 pm on Friday, ANI reported. He said the MLAs would demand that the JD(U)-BJP government be dissolved and the Rashtriya Janata Dal be invited to form the government.

“How will the BJP prove majority [in Karnataka]? [Party President] Amit Shah has only one formula – horse trading, or using central agencies against MLAs of other parties,” Yadav said. “It’s dictatorship by the BJP. If we are not united today, then just as it was Bihar yesterday and Karnataka today, it could be Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan tomorrow.”

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