Hitting back at the Congress for accusing the BJP of using the money to “steal the mandate” in Manipur and Goa, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the Congress “complains a bit too much” and that the Goa Governor could not have invited the “minority” of Congress MLAs to form the government.
“The Congress did not even submit a claim to the Governor. It had only the support of 17 MLAs. In the face of claim of the 21 MLAs led by Manohar Parrikar, the Governor could not have invited the minority of 17 MLAs to form the Government,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
Jaitley also cited several precedents to support the decision of the Governor, including the 2013 verdict of Delhi Assembly polls where the BJP won 31 seats but the Aam Aadmi Party, with 28 MLAs and with the support of Congress, was invited to form the government.
“The Congress Party complains a bit too much. It accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of ‘stealing’ the mandate in Goa. It unsuccessfully petitioned before the Supreme Court. It attempted to raise issues in the Lok Sabha,” Jaitley said.
The Finance Minister said that the assembly elections in Goa produced an inconclusive verdict.
“There was a hung assembly. Obviously in a Hung Assembly post-poll alliances will be formed. The BJP managed to form an alliance and presented to the Governor 21 out of 40 MLAs,” he said.
To support the Goa Governor’s move, Jaitley also cited an example of March 1988 when President K.R. Narayanan invited Atal Behari Vajpayee to form the Government.
According to Jaitley, the President had said, “When no party or pre-election alliance of parties is in a clear majority, the Head of State has in India or elsewhere, given the first opportunity to the leader of the party or combination of parties that has won largest number of seats subject to the Prime Ministers so appointed obtaining majority support on the floor of the house within a stipulated time.”
This procedure is not, however, all time formula because situations can arise where MPs not belonging to the single largest party or combination can, as a collective entity, out-number the single largest claimant.
“The President’s choice of Prime Minister is pivoted on the would be Prime Minister’s claim of commanding majority support,” Jaitley added.
He said the Governor in Goa had only one claim of 21 MLAs out of 40 elected MLAs with Manohar Parrikar as their leader.
“The 17 MLAs of Congress did not even make a claim nor elected their leader. How could the Congress ever be invited to form the government?” he asked.
Earlier, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of using the money to “steal the mandate” in Manipur and Goa following the party’s bid to form governments in both the states despite being the runner-up.