BJP confident of proving majority in Goa floor test: Jaitley

BJP confident of proving majority in Goa floor test: Jaitley

The BJP is confident of proving its majority in the Goa Assembly during the floor test on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said as he thrashed "minority" Congress' argument of not being invited to form the government in the state.

Jaitley said with the elections throwing a hung assembly, the BJP quickly cobbled together an alliance of 21 out of 40 newly elected MLAs supporting a government under former defence minister Manohar Parrikar but the Congress with 17 MLAs till date has not elected a leader nor staked a claim to form the government.

To buttress his claim, he cited examples of 2013 assembly elections in Delhi, 2002 polls in Jammu and Kashmir and 2005 Jharkhand elections where the BJP despite being the largest party was not invited to form governments.

"The Congress party has been protesting that it should have been invited by the Governor of Goa to have its leaders sworn. But the Congress party has neither elected a leader nor has it till date made any claim before the Governor of Goa," Jaitley told reporters here.
In a hung assembly, 21 MLAs including 13 of the BJP "clearly" extended support to Parrikar while the Congress was left with only 17, he said.

"So when there is a clear alliance of 21, which is a majority, who appeared in person before the Governor and who have also given written letters of support, how could the Governor have invited a minority when there is a majority claim before him," he said.

Asked about the Supreme Court not staying the swearing in of Parrikar as the Goa Chief Minister but ordering floor test on March 16, he said the apex court was "right" as "sooner it (the floor test) happens the better it is, because then there is no horse trading."

"The Supreme Court has said that you immediately establish the majority which is a right verdict," he said.

Asked if his party will be able to prove its majority, he said: "The BJP is confident that we will establish the majority."

On Manipur, which has also thrown a hung assembly with the Congress being the single largest party with 28 MLAs in a 60-member house, Jaitley said the BJP will wait for the decision of the Governor.

In that state as well, the BJP with 21 MLAs has managed to stitch an alliance and stake claim to form the government.

Earlier in the day, Jaitley wrote a Facebook post thrashing the Congress for "complaining a bit too much" and accusing the BJP of "stealing the mandate in Goa."

"It unsuccessfully petitioned before the Supreme Court. It attempted to raise issues in the Lok Sabha," he said. "The 17 MLAs of the Congress did not even make a claim nor elected their leader. How could the Congress ever be invited to form the Government?"

Citing past precedences, he said the BJP was the single largest party in Jharkhand in 2005, but the JMM was invited to form the government as it had stitched an alliance.

Similarly in 2002, the National Conference was the single largest party in Jammu and Kashmir yet the PDP was invited. More recently in 2013, the BJP was the single largest party in Delhi but Aam Aadmi Party was invited because majority of MLAs, including that of the Congress, gave letters of support in its favour.

"So I don't think there is any basis for the Congress party being invited (in Goa), particularly because it neither had the majority nor had it made any claim before the Governor," he said.
Jaitley, who has also been given the additional charge of the Defence Ministry after Parrikar's resignation, said voters in Goa and Manipur elections have chosen a hung assembly with no single party getting a clear majority.

"Elections are held to form government and hence it is natural that when a single party does not have a clear majority then the elected MLAs and those from smaller regional parties will decide on which party to support. And based on their support, one party will form government between the two major parties," he told reporters.

Congress' statement that it should have been called to form the government has no reason and basis, he said.

"There has been precedence that when the alternate alliance establishes their majority, then that coalition is called for forming the government. Hence the opposition of the Congress to this is baseless," he said.

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