Panaji/Patna/Imphal: In a ripple effect stemming from developments in Karnataka, the Congress in Goa and Manipur and the RJD in Bihar, which is the single largest party in the respective states, on Thursday said they will approach the state Governors and stake claim for government formation.
However, questions are being raised on the surprising move by the two allies, more than a year after elections were held to the respective assemblies which appeared to be aimed at embarrassing the BJP. Also, the numbers are completely in NDA's favour in all the 3 states.
The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in Karnataka Assembly, was invited by Governor Vajubhai Vala on Wednesday to form the government despite the JD(S)-Congress combine staking claim by citing the support of 117 MLAs. The majority mark is 112 seats. Elections were held for all but two of the 224 seats. BS Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister in Bengaluru on Thursday morning.
Goa Congress Legislature Party chief Chandrakant Kavlekar said the party will stake claim on Friday by submitting to Governor Mridula Sinha a formal letter containing signatures of all the 16 party MLAs. The Governor has given 12 noon time for the meeting with the Congress leaders.
In the Assembly elections held in March 2017, the Congress bagged 17 seats in the 40-member House, falling short of the majority figure by four seats. One MLA later resigned and joined the BJP.
The BJP, which got 14 seats, formed the government in alliance with Goa Forward Party and MGP, both of which had secured three seats each. Three Independents also went with the BJP.
Kavlekar said the Goa Governor should follow the precedent set by her Karnataka counterpart and invite the single largest party to form the government "correcting her mistake of March 12, 2017".
"We have 16 legislators with us and with that strength, we are the single largest party in the (Goa) Assembly. The governor should invite us to form the government in Goa as per the precedent set by her Karnataka counterpart," said Kavlekar, the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly, in Panaji.
When pointed out that the Congress needs the support of at least 21 legislators to stake the claim, he said once the governor swears in the Congress chief minister, he will be able to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
"The numbers will have to be proven on the floor of the House and we have that with us," he said.
However, he did not specify how the party would muster the majority.
Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar said governors can't have two different set of rules.
"While in Karnataka the governor has invited single largest party, in Goa too, the same precedent should be followed," he said.
The Congress is giving an "opportunity to Goa governor to rectify the mistake which she did last year", Chodankar said.
The BJP-led government in Goa is headed by Manohar Parrikar, who is currently undergoing treatment in the US for his pancreatic ailment.
In Bihar, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said his party will also request the Bihar Governor to dissolve the state Assembly and like in Karnataka invite the single largest party, which in the state is his party.
Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad and the Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, told reporters in Patna he has sought an appointment with the Governor Satyapal Malik on Friday before whom we wish to submit that there cannot be double standards".
The JD(U)-BJP alliance together with other allies have 131 seats in the 243 Assembly. However, the RJD is still the single largest party with 80 MLAs.
Yadav said if the BJP was invited by the Karnataka Governor to form the government on the ground that it was the single largest party, then the RJD also had the right to form the government.
"We will request the Bihar Governor to dismiss the state government and invite the RJD to form the government," he said.
"I will meet the Governor along with our MLAs as we are the single largest party in Bihar," tweeted Yadav.
Former Manipur chief minister and Congress leader Ibobi Singh also said he will seek an appointment with the Governor for staking claim to form a government,
In the Manipur poll held last year, the Congress had won 28 seats in the 60-member House and the BJP 21. The BJP joined hands with regional parties to claim support of majority of MLAs and Governor Najma Heptulla invited it to form the government, ignoring the claim of the Congress.
CPI-M chief Sitaram Yechury recalled that the BJP government appointed Governors did not invite single largest party in either Goa, Manipur or Meghalaya (Congress-21 out of 60) and said union ministers gave arguments supporting them. "The precedent is there to follow, right?" he tweeted.