Panaji: The BJP's Manohar Parrikar took oath as Goa's next chief minister today. Eight legislators were sworn in as ministers along with Mr Parrikar at the Raj Bhawan in capital Panaji. Political observers say that the BJP was seen using the occasion to further consolidate the support that smaller parties and Independents have pledged by liberally allotting ministries to them.
- Vijay Sardesai, chief of Goa Forward expected to take oath today
- We have the numbers to form government: BJP's Sadanand Tanawade
- Goa can have 12 ministers in the state legislature
Vijay Sardesai, chief of regional party Goa Forward took oath today along with one of his legislators. Sudin Dhavlekar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP too and one more from his party took oath today. Even two Independent legislators who have supported the BJP were rewarded with ministries.
From the BJP, sources said, two newly elected legislators took oath as ministers apart from Mr Parrikar, who resigned as the country's defence minister and will have to win an assembly seat within six months if he survives a trust vote on Thursday. Goa can have 12 ministers.
Mr Parrikar, whose party has won only 13 seats in the 40-member Goa assembly, has been ordered by the Supreme Court this morning to prove he has majority support of at least 21 legislators in a floor test in the Goa assembly on Thursday. The support of Goa Forward with three, MGP with three and the two independents help it over the halfway mark. They have all handed BJP letter of support.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition by the Congress challenging Goa Governor Mridula Sinha's decision to invite the BJP to form government even though it has the most seats in the assembly - 17. The court rejected the Congress' plea that Mr Parrikar's oath this evening be stopped.
Mr Parrikar refused to comment just yet, but his party's Sadanand Tanawade said, "We have the numbers to form the government. We have more than 21 MLAs with us with the support of alliance partners."
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has accused the BJP of using "money power" and of "misusing the governor's office," to form government in Goa. The Congress claims it has the support of more than 21 MLAs and its lawyer and senior leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi has wagered that the Parrikar government will not be able to prove majority in the Goa House on Thursday.
"There is no question of losing on the floor of the house," Mr Tanawade said.
In elections results announced on the weekend, the Congress had won 17 seats, the BJP 13, Goa Forward and MGP three each, while the Nationalist Congress Party has one seat and there are three Independents.