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With eye on forming government, Congress' Goa unit petitions President Kovind

In the letter, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief writes that the assembly should not be dissolved by 'foul play.'

With eye on forming government, Congress' Goa unit petitions President Kovind
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@INCGoa

Panaji: The Congress in Goa on Monday urged President Ram Nath Kovind to ensure that the state Assembly is not dissolved by "foul play".

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar, in a petition, briefed President Kovind about their earlier pleas to Governor Mridula Sinha about staking claim to form government in the state and said it is imperative that the President issues instructions and guides the governor, so that there is no constitutional over-reach to seek dissolution of the Assembly.

The Congress is the largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly with 16 MLAs, while the Parrikar government has the support of 23 MLAs.

Accusing the BJP of acting "power hungry" in Goa, the Congress had on Saturday demanded that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar step down and it be allowed to prove majority by convening a special session of the Assembly.

Parrikar, 62, has been ailing since mid-February and has been treated at different hospitals including those in Goa, Mumbai and the US. He returned here Sunday by a special flight from New Delhi, where he underwent treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for pancreatic ailment.

"We had petitioned the governor that we are staking claim to form the government and there should be no decision to dissolve the House without exploring the option of inviting our party to form the government," Chodankar said in the petition.

"For this reason, it is imperative that you (Kovind) issue instructions and guide the governor, so that there is no constitutional over-reach to seek a dissolution by foul play, contrary to wishes of the majority," he said.

The Congress had last month submitted a memorandum to the governor, urging her not to dissolve the Assembly and instead invite the party to form an alternative government.

Chodankar alleged that the plea has been made to Kovind as there has been an instance in the past when the then chief minister Parrikar had dissolved the House through a "forged" resolution of Council of Ministers.

Notably, Parrikar had in 2002 dissolved the House prematurely after it faced a series of defections.

The then governor Mohammad Fazal had accepted the recommendation of the state Cabinet to dissolve the House.

In the petition to Kovind, Chodankar claimed Parrikar's prolonged illness has kept several issues pertaining to the state administration pending and that the government has failed to address even the basic issues of people.

The BJP-led alliance has not only lost trust of the people, but also lost confidence of the House, he claimed.

Meanwhile, Congress' legislators in Goa met here Monday to discuss the political situation in the state in the wake of Parrikar's illness.

Calling it an informal meet of the Congress legislature party, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said, "The Congress legislature party (CLP) reiterated that they are intact as a group and are in a position to garner the required numbers if the Governor allows them to prove their majority on the floor of the House."

The legislators ruled out rumours about a split in the CLP, Kavlekar added.

Besides the 14 BJP MLAs, the Parrikar government has the support of three MLAs each from the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party as well as three Independents.