The Goa Congress on Tuesday met Governor Mridula Sinha and asked her to direct the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to prove its majority in a floor test in the Assembly, PTI reported. The party also requested the governor to not allow the Assembly to be dissolved.
“We don’t want another election within one-and-a-half years,” Congress Legislature Party chief Chandrakant Kavlekar said. “If the [BJP-led] coalition can’t run the government, then we are ready to take over.”
The Congress’ demand for a floor test comes in the absence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and other ministers. Parrikar, who has been suffering from a pancreatic ailment for the past few months, was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Saturday. Goa’s Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar are also currently in hospital.
In the 40-seat Goa Assembly, the BJP has 13 MLAs but is in alliance with the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both of which have three seats each. Three independent candidates are also allied with the BJP. The Congress, which emerged the single-largest party in the Assembly elections in 2017, has 16 MLAs in the Assembly.
The are also rumours of a rift between the BJP and its allies.The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party said on Saturday it was “high time” that Parrikar handed over the charge to the seniormost minister. The next day, the BJP said Parrikar would not be replaced. “There is no issue about the government and there is no demand of change in leadership from anyone,” said party leader Ram Lal.
Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Congress’ move to form a government in Goa when the chief minister is undergoing treatment at a hospital reflected the party’s desperation to grab power. “The chief minister is ill,” she said. “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.”