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Wednesday 19 February 2020

Karnataka effect: RJD, INC stake claims to form governments in Bihar, Goa, Manipur

The Congress currently has 16 members in the Goa Assembly as one of its legislators, Vishwajeet Rane, joined the BJP last year; the RJD reduced to being an opposition party last year after the JD(U) walked away from the three-party ruling alliance

Patna/Panaji/Imphal: Seeking a uniform rule for a governor to follow in a hung Assembly, the RJD in Bihar and the INC in Goa and Manipur today staked claim to form the government, citing the example of Karnataka where the BJP was invited after it emerged as the single largest party.

However, questions were raised on the surprising move by the two allies, more than a year after elections were held to the respective assemblies which appeared to be aimed at embarrassing the BJP. BJP’s Goa unit president Vinay Tendulkar called the INC move a “stunt”.

Also, the numbers were completely in NDA’s favour in all the three States.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, accompanied by the INC, Hindustani Awam Morcha and CPI(ML) leaders, had a meeting with Governor Satya Pal Malik during which he demanded that his party be invited to form a government in Bihar since it was the single largest party and also constituted the single largest pre-poll alliance.

“We met the governor and submitted a memorandum stating that we have (the) support of 111 MLAs, those of my own party as well as our allies — the INC and the Hindustani Awam Morcha besides CPI(ML).

“We said that we have 111 MLAs together and if we are asked for floor test, we are confident of winning, as more legislators are likely to vote in our favour,” he told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan in Patna.

Yadav, who is the Opposition Leader in the Assembly, said, “The point we are trying to make is that there has to be one rule in the country. If the Karnataka Governor’s decision to invite the BJP on the ground of it being the single largest party was proper, then the same yardstick should be applied to Bihar. The RJD, by virtue of its being the single largest party in the State, should be allowed to form the government here.”

Lalu Prasad Yadav

The RJD was relegated to being an opposition party last year after the JD(U) walked away from the three-party alliance, which also involved the INC, and joined hands with the BJP to form a new government under Nitish Kumar. Assembly polls in Bihar were held in November 2015.

In the 243-member Assembly, the RJD is the single-largest party with 80 MLAs, while JD(U) has 71 legislators and the BJP has 53. NDA constituents LJP and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party have two seats each. The INC has 27 MLAs.

The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in Karnataka Assembly, was invited by Governor Vajubhai Vala to form the government despite the JD(S)-INC combine staking a claim by citing the support of 117 MLAs. The INC won 78 seats and the JD(S) 37.

The Goa INC Legislative Party, led by Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Governor Mridula Sinha at Raj Bhavan in Panaji 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 INC legislators were present during the meeting with the governor as one of them is abroad 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 12 March 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 INC 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 the 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 INC 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 by-poll 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.

“In Karnataka, the governor invited the single largest party, hence in Goa too, the same precedent should be followed,” he said.

In Manipur, an INC delegation staked claim to form a government, said Kh Jaikishan Singh, the spokesperson of the party’s State unit.

Nine leaders of Congress Legislature Party (CLP), led by the Opposition Leader in Manipur Assembly and former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, met acting Governor Jagdish Mukhi at Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form a government, Singh told reporters in Imphal.

The INC had bagged 28 seats in the 60-member House in the 2017 Assembly polls and emerged as the single-largest party.

The BJP, which secured 21 seats, had joined hands with regional parties and Governor Najma Heptulla had invited the coalition to form the government.

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