SC ticks off Congress, BJP pockets Manipur and Goa

Parrikar sworn in as Supreme Court chides Congress for not presenting a claim to Goa Guv; as if on cue, BJP gets invite to form govt in Manipur.

Published: 15th March 2017 04:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2017 10:48 AM   |  A+A-

Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar (centre) after being sworn in as the Chief Minister of Goa, at a ceremony in Panaji on Tuesday | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Events moved rapidly - - and acrimoniously - - yet gave a concrete shape to the political landscape at either corners of India on Tuesday. In the end, the BJP had moved closer to taking a decisive hold of two more states, turning what looked like a 2-3 score into 4-1. Both Goa and Manipur having returned ambivalent verdicts, this post-result coup of sorts came amidst much drama, dissent and a court case — the latest to join a long judicial history.

Manohar Parrikar, back in his old playground after almost three years as Union Defence Minister, was sworn in for a new term as Chief Minister even as nascent #NotMyCM protests hit the streets of Goa. In Manipur, former footballer and journalist N. Biren Singh will go through the formal ceremony on Wednesday.

Governor Mridula Sinha’s decision to invite the BJP, despite it having only 13 seats (against 17 of the Congress) was promptly questioned in a petition before the Supreme Court. The result was not a happy one for the party. In a stinging rebuff, the court chided the Congress for not even presenting a claim to the Governor and refused to stay the swearing-in. It only directed the fledgling Goa government to confirm its stability via a floor strength on Thursday.

The outcome of the floor test is more or less predictable, with the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party backing the BJP, even in the face of criticism for having betrayed the people’s mandate. Over and above that, Parrikar hinted at Congress MLAs being on his side —- three new legislators are apparently angry enough at the turn of events and want to back Parrikar.

Congress pointsman Digvijay Singh, widely seen to have botched up his job by inordinately delaying his move and letting the BJP run away with the script, faced irate questions from MLAs. It was the choice for a CM face that he took time over — a fact full of irony now. Also, the Congress too was short of a majority. Even the SC pointed out, “If you had the numbers, you would have held a dharna at the Governor’s house,”

Soon after the apex court refused to stay the Parrikar swearing-in, Manipur Governor Najma Heptullah lost no time in taking that as a cue and invited the BJP to form the government, citing the rationale that the Governor needs to weigh the issue of stability.

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