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After Karnataka decision, Congress MLAs meet Goa governor to stake claim to form govt

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Congress, Goa Governor

Panaji: Seeking adoption of the Karnataka example in Goa, the Congress today staked claim to form government in the state, being the single largest party in the Legislative Assembly.

The Congress Legislative Party, led by Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Governor Mridula Sinha at Raj Bhavan here around noon and submitted a letter seeking an invite to the party to prove its majority on the floor of the House. The party said it gave the governor seven days to decide on its request. Fourteen of the 16 Congress legislators were present during the meeting with governor as one of them is out of the country, while another one is hospitalised. The meeting lasted for about 15 minutes.

“We requested the governor to follow the precedent of Karnataka and undo the mistake she had committed on March 12, 2017, when she invited the minority party (BJP) to form the government,” Kavlekar said, adding, “We have given a time of seven days to revert to us on our request.” In the Assembly elections held in February last year, the Congress had bagged 17 seats in the 40-member House but falling short of the majority figure by four seats.

The BJP, which had bagged 13 seats, firmed up an alliance with Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both of which had secured three seats each, and also took support of three Independents. Subsequently, the governor invited the BJP-led coalition to form the government. The present dispensation is headed by Manohar Parrikar, who is currently undergoing treatment in the US for a pancreatic ailment.

The Congress currently has 16 members in the Goa Assembly as one of its legislators, Vishwajeet Rane, joined the BJP last year. Rane later won Valpoi Assembly bypoll on BJP ticket.

“We have all the required numbers with us to form the government in the state. We can prove our numbers on the floor of the House. The magic figure of 21 is there with Congress… even without poaching into BJP camp,” Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.

“In Karnataka, the governor invited the single largest party, hence in Goa too, the same precedent should be followed,” he said referring to the decision of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite the BJP to form the government after the Assembly election results were declared on Wednesday.

The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in the Karnataka Assembly, was invited by the governor to form government despite the JD(S)-Congress combine staking claim by citing the support of 117 MLAs. The Congress won 78 seats and the JD(S) 37. The majority mark in Karnataka Assembly is 112 seats. Elections were held for all but two of the 224 seats.

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