Goa Congress leaders submitting a letter staking claim to form a government in the state. (Source: ANI)

Congress Stakes Claim To Form Government In Goa

With Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar hospitalised, Goa's main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, submitted a memorandum to Governor Mridula Sinha on Monday, staking claim to form an alternate government.

The move came at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party high command has sent three senior leaders—Ram Lal, BL Santhosh and Vinay Puranik—to Panaji to meet the state party leaders and allies to take stock of the political situation. Parrikar, 62, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment, is currently admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi for treatment.

The Congress, which has 16 members in the 40-member state Assembly, submitted a memorandum to the governor, urging her not to dissolve the Assembly and instead invite the party to form the government, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said.

Goa is being ruled by the BJP-led alliance headed by Parrikar. The BJP has 14 seats in the Assembly, its allies—Goa Forward Party and Maharashtra Gomantak Party—have three each. Three independents and an MLA of Nationalist Congress Party also support the BJP. All the 16 Congress MLAs, led by Kavlekar, went to the Raj Bhavan but could not meet the governor as she isn’t in town.

"The party urged the governor not to consider dissolution of the state Legislative Assembly, which is a possibility considering internal fighting in the ruling alliance and Parrikar’s illness," Kavlekar told PTI. He said the Congress has the support of legislators from other parties and can form the government, if given a chance. "We will prove our majority on the floor of the House.”

Earlier, BJP leader Ram Lal said the Goa government is stable and no demand has been made for a change in the leadership. He stated this after a meeting with party MLAs, former legislators and core committee members. He said the BJP's alliance partners conveyed that they will agree to any political decision taken by the saffron party.

Kavlekar said the state is not in a position to face another election within one-and-half year due to whims and fancies of BJP. "Having another election means stress on the state exchequer."

Earlier too, the Congress had staked claim on May 18, citing the example of Karnataka where the largest party, BJP, was invited to form the government after the Assembly polls threw up a fractured verdict. The Congress had said that it had not been invited to form the government in Goa after the Assembly polls in March last year despite it emerging as the largest single party. The party had also met Governor on September 7, urging her to intervene as state administration was suffering due to the chief minister’s ailment.