New Delhi: Stung by the developments in Karnataka, the Congress is preparing to make a point in other states where it missed a shot at power after falling short of numbers - Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya. Its ally in Bihar, Lalu Yadav's party RJD, has the same idea.
- Goa Congress lawmakers planning to go to governor's house to stake claim
- Former Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh has also asked to meet governor
- BJP trashes Congress move, saying it was all "humbug"
"If in Karnataka the single largest party got a chance to form government, then the governments in Goa, Bihar, Manipur and Meghalaya should resign and make way for the single largest party," said Congress leader Randeep Surjewala in Delhi.
The Congress and Janata Dal Secular (JDS) together have a majority in Karnataka, where elections threw up a hung verdict. But Governor Vajubhai Vala on Wednesday evening invited the BJP, which is the largest party even if eight short of a majority.
In Goa, the Congress couldn't form a government last year despite emerging as the single largest party. "If Karnataka Governor can invite single largest BJP to form government, why not Goa governor invite single largest Congress in Goa ? Why two criteria for two states? Why double standard? Request Her Excellency to follow big brother of Karnataka and invite Congress to rectify wrong," tweeted Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar.
All 16 Goa Congress lawmakers are planning to march to Governor Mridula Sinha's house on Friday to "stake claim".
Manipur's former Chief Minister Ibobi Singh has also asked to meet the Governor today. So has former Meghalaya chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
The BJP trashes the Congress move, saying it was all "humbug".
"Waking up after 500 days and saying we're single largest party... This is not how democracy works. They are desperate," said the party's Prakash Javadekar, underlining that what sets Goa apart was that the Congress hadn't staked claim.
In the Goa election, the Congress won 17 in the 40-seat assembly and the BJP won 13. The governor invited the BJP and its allies after they showed a combined strength that was more than the half-way mark. The Congress then challenged the Goa governor's decision in the Supreme Court but couldn't stop the oath ceremony of the BJP's Manohar Parrikar.
The top court, however, told Mr Parrikar to prove his majority in the assembly within four days, not 15.
In the 60-member Manipur assembly, union minister Prakash Javadekar alleged, the Congress lost the race after submitting a forged letter of support from Manipur People's Party legislators who later denied signing the communication. "Here in Karnataka also, they had resorted to their age-old practice (of forging signatures of legislators)." Mr Javadekar, also a union minister, said.
The Congress effort, high on symbolism, however, may not go far in Meghalaya where it was just three votes short of the majority mark of 31 last year. But its strength of 28 has depleted since then. Its 7 legislators have joined the BJP and the Congress lost one more seat in a recent by-poll, placing the Congress and the BJP-supported National People's Party on par. Both have 20 lawmakers.
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala has given the BJP 15 days to prove its majority.
The Goa Congress said by the same count, it should be given power in the state.
"In 2017, we won 17 seats and were single largest party and continue to be but Governor chose to invite the BJP which had 13 seats. In Karnataka, governor invited BJP as they are the single largest party. So we now appeal to the governor to invite us to form government," said Yatish Naik of the Congress.
Manohar Parrikar, 62, has been unwell for months and is abroad for treatment. The Goa Congress had recently demanded a "full-time" chief minister in the absence of Mr Parrikar.
In Bihar, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has declared he will stake claim to form a new government, given that his party is the single largest.
"We are not only single largest party but single largest block of pre poll alliance in Bihar. Then why should we not be called to form government in Bihar?" he tweeted yesterday, stating that he would meet the governor.'
"Didn't BJP betray the mandate in Bihar?" Tejashwi questioned.
In 2015, RJD won the most number of seats , more than alliance partners Nitish Kumar and Congress. But last year, Nitish Kumar resigned and dumped the RJD and Congress in favour of the BJP. The Chief Minister said he would not stand for corruption allegations against Tejashwi Yadav, the younger son of Lalu Yadav.
"This is a political drama," Mr Javadekar shot back. The minister said if the Congress wanted to dislodge a siting government, the only way this could be done was by getting a no-confidence motion passed against the government concerned.