Congress stakes claim to form government in Goa

Hours after the Goa Chief Minister’s office said that Manohar Parrikar’s health condition is stable, the Congress on Saturday staked claim to form the government.
In a letter to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the 40-member state assembly, said that the Parrikar government has lost majority following the demise of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza.
“Consequent upon the sad demise of Francis D’Souza, MLA, who belonged to the BJP, it is humbly submitted that the incumbent BJP-led state government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, which has long lost the trust of the people and now also lost strength in the House,” Kavlekar said in the letter.
“Also, we anticipate that numbers of the BJP may further dwindle,” he wrote to the Governor requesting that such minority government be not allowed to continue even for a moment.
“It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to dismiss the state government led by the BJP to ensure that the Indian National Congress, which is the single-largest party in the august House and is presently enjoying the majority, be called to form government,” Kavlekar said.
He also warned that any attempt to bring the state under President’s Rule will be challenged on the grounds that it would be “undemocratic” and “illegal”.
Francis D’Souza, a former deputy Chief Minister of Goa, passed away at 64 on 14 February following a battle with cancer.
His death brought the number of members in the assembly down to 37. Two members – Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, both Congress leaders – resigned as MLAs and joined the BJP in October last year.
At present, Congress has the majority in the house at 14, followed by BJP with 13 MLAs. The BJP-led coalition government currently has the support of 12 BJP MLAs, plus three lawmakers each from two regional parties, namely Goa Forward and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, one MLA from the National Congress Party and two Independent legislators.
As the threat of political instability remerged in Goa, the BJP called an “urgent meeting” of the party MLAs in its Panaji office.
After media reports claimed that Parrikar’s health condition had worsened, the CMO earlier today issued a statement that the 63-year-old Goa CM is stable.
Parrikar is being treated at his private residence for advanced pancreatic ailment, from which he is suffering for the last one year.
The former Defence Minister has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York ever since.

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