A delegation of Goa Congress, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Governor Mridula Sinha at the Raj Bhavan on Monday to stake claim to form the government, ANI reported. This came a day after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party died of pancreatic cancer.
Earlier in the day, Kavlekar told PTI that all 14 Congress legislators in the state Assembly, who met on Monday morning, had decided to walk to the Raj Bhavan uninvited after Sinha refused to give them an appointment. “We are a majority party in the House and still have to struggle to get the appointment,” he said. “We demand that we be invited to form the government under the circumstances where the [BJP-led] government does not exist after Parrikar’s demise.”
The Congress had been trying to meet Sinha since staking claim to form government on Saturday, when it had urged the governor to dismiss the BJP-led government, saying it is a “minority” administration and that its numbers “may further dwindle”.
In its letter to Sinha, the party had told her that any attempt to “bring the state under President’s Rule will be undemocratic, and illegal and will be challenged, as deemed fit”.
The Congress, with 14 MLAs, is the single-largest party in the state Assembly, which has 37 members and, with Parrikar’s death, four vacancies. The BJP has 12 seats at the moment while its allies – the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party – have three seats each. The Nationalist Congress Party has one seat, while there are three independent legislators who support the BJP-led coalition. However, it is not known if the independent MLAs will support a BJP government with a new chief minister.
The Congress has been demanding the dismissal of the BJP government since last year, when it was made public that Parrikar was being treated for cancer.
In September, the party had requested the governor to direct the government to prove its majority in a floor test in the Assembly in the absence of Parrikar and several other ministers. The Congress had 16 legislators at the time, but the following month, two of them resigned and joined the BJP, giving the ruling party some breathing space in the coastal state. This also ensured that the Congress was no longer the single-largest party in the Assembly. However, with the death of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza and Parrikar, the Congress once again holds an edge.