SC to hear Congress’ petition challenging Goa Governor’s move to appoint Manohar Parrikar as CM today

The swearing-in ceremony will be held in Panaji at 5 pm.

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The swearing-in ceremony will be held in Panaji at 5 pm.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear a petition moved by the Congress challenging Goa Governor Mridula Sinha’s decision to appoint BJP leader Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister of the state. After dramatic developments, Manohar Parrikar is set to take oath as the CM this evening. The swearing-in ceremony will be held in Panaji at 5 pm. Parrikar resigned as Defence Minister yesterday even as Union Minister Arun Jaitley was entrusted with the additional charge of the Defence Ministry. The petition was filed last evening was mentioned at the residence of Chief Justice J S Kehar, who agreed to give an urgent hearing on Tuesday. A special bench would be constituted as the apex court is on Holi break for a week. The petition filed by Goa CLP leader Chandrakant Kavlekar has sought stay on the swearing-in of Parrikar as the chief minister.

The petition has also sought quashing of the decision of the governor to appoint Parrikar as the chief minister. The petition, filed by advocate Devdutt Kamath, is likely to be argued by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and has made the Centre and Goa as the parties. The Goa CLP leader has argued that the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the polls and under the constitutional convention, the Governor was bound to invite the single largest party to form the government and give it the opportunity to prove majority in the floor test.

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It said the decision of the governor is a blatantly unconstitutional action and is illegal, arbitrary and violative of the basic features of the Constitution. He added that the decision was hastily taken by the governor yesterday.

Further, the advocate said it was wrong on the part of the Governor to invite the BJP-led alliance for government formation as there was no pre-poll alliance. In the 40-member House, the Congress has 17 MLAs, followed by the BJP with 13, the MGP (3), the GFP (3), the NCP (1) and Independents (3).

Parrikar had yesterday submitted evidence before Governor, the support of 13 MLAs of the BJP, 3 MLAs of the MGP, 3 of the Goa Forward Party and two Independent MLAs thus having a total strength of 21 MLAs in the 40-member assembly.

The Congress yesterday also urged the Goa Governor to invite the party to form the next government by virtue of being the single largest party, a day ahead of swearing-in of BJP leader Manohar Parrikar as Chief Minister. In a memorandum submitted to the Governor tonight, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) claimed to have the requisite support and that they can prove the same on the floor of the House. The development came a day after the BJP members led by Parrikar formally staked the claim to form the next government, following which the Governor appointed Parrikar as the chief minister and asked him to prove majority in House within a fortnight of taking oath.

“Despite losing the mandate of the people, our political opponents (BJP) have tried to misrepresent to your good-self that they enjoy the majority support of legislators. This is not only opportunism at its lowest but is also not constitutionally permissible,” Goa CLP Leader Chandrakant Kavlekar stated in the memorandum.

As per the new composition of Assembly post-polls, the Congress has 17 MLAs, the BJP 13, MGP 3, GFP 3, Independents 3, and NCP 1.Though the lone NCP MLA Churchill Alemao was yesterday said to have backed the BJP, he has not submitted the formal letter of support.

(With agency inputs)

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