Congress Eyes Power In Goa, Meets Governor, Stakes Claim To Form Government

Thirteen of the 16 Congress lawmakers were at the Raj Bhavan this afternoon to ask her to invite the Congress to stake claim to form government

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Congress Eyes Power In Goa, Meets Governor, Stakes Claim To Form Government

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha receives a letter from 13 Congress lawmakers to stake claim to prove majority

Panaji:  The Indian National Congress has approached the Goa Governor, Mridula Sinha, to "correct her mistake" after the elections to the 40-member assembly last year. The Congress says it should have been invited to form the government in Goa after the elections in March last year as it emerged as the single largest party.

Thirteen of the 16 Congress lawmakers were at the Raj Bhavan this afternoon to ask her to invite the Congress to stake claim to form government.

Senior Congress leaders in the state, such as former Chief Ministers Digambar Kamat, Luizinho Faleiro and state Congress Chief Girish Chodankar were at the governor's residence to press for the dismissal of the current BJP-led government as the Congress party is the single largest party in the state. The BJP was invited to form the government in Karnataka based on the same argument, they claimed.

Mr Faleiro told NDTV, "We met the governor and we reminded her that she has to uphold the constitution and rectify the last time's mistake. We were the single largest party, we are the single largest party and we will continue to be the single largest party so you please dismiss their government and invite us to prove our majority."

"We are confident that many in the government, who are unhappy with the way things have happened in the last three months with no cabinet meetings, will be with us. We have a long monsoon and this is the most productive period and there has been no work. There is no Chief Minister in the state. BJP's own MLAs are feeling the pain as people are questioning them," state Congress chief Girish Chodankar told NDTV.

The BJP laughed off the Congress's move as a desperate attempt. Narendra Sawaikar, Member of Lok Sabha from South Goa, told NDTV, "We had proved our majority in the house after forming the government. The Congress had gone to the Supreme Court then as well and the court had asked us to prove our majority. This shows the Congress's desperation and frustration and its cheap theatrics to cover up the failures of Rahul Gandhi's leadership and to divert attention from it."

The BJP also pointed out that three Congress lawmakers were missing from the delegation that visited the governor today. The BJP advised the Congress to keep its flock together suggesting that these three missing lawmakers could also be counted in the BJP's kitty. The Congress explained that one of them has undergone a surgery, another one is in the US and the third one was out of Goa.

The Congress, sources say, is in touch with other allies and parties as it senses a vacuum in Manohar Parrikar's absence, who is undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment in the USA. The governor has asked for time to respond to the Congress's memorandum. While it is unlikely that the governor will do anything about it, the BJP is keeping a close watch on the situation.

Taking a cue from Goa, the Congress units in Manipur, Meghalaya have also decided to stake claim to power. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has also adopted the same strategy to try and corner the BJP on a day when the Supreme Court ordered the floor test on Saturday in Karnataka.

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