Manohar Parrikar can take oath as the new Chief Minister of Goa today, but he must take a trust vote on Thursday to prove he has a majority, the Supreme Court ruled today, in a big setback for the Congress, which was also criticised for its actions by judges. The BJP has been invited to form the government in Goa despite winning fewer seats in the election. That decision - taken by Governor Mridula Sinha - has been challenged by the Congress in court. The Congress won 17 seats in the election; the BJP won 13, but secured the support of small regional parties.
Here are the latest developments in this big political story:
- The Congress told the Supreme Court that Governor Sinha's decision to invite the BJP to form the government is "illegal" and a "blatant unconstitutional action" as the single-largest party should have been given the first chance.
- "If you had the numbers, you would have held a dharna (protest) at the Governor's house," the Supreme Court said today, adding that the Congress' petition to judges also does not evidence that it has the needed support.
- Courts are on holiday, but Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and other judges heard the petition on account of its political urgency.
- In election results announced on Saturday, the Congress won 17 seats and the BJP was second with 13. Both were short of 21, the minimum number of seats needed in the 40-member Goa assembly to form government.
- The BJP moved swiftly to secure the support of regional parties Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP and Goa Forward and some Independent legislators and had by Sunday evening met the Governor to stake claim. The new allies had one condition - the BJP's Manohar Parrikar should be Chief Minister.
- Governor Sinha invited the BJP, which says it now has the backing of 22 MLAs, to form government. Mr Parrikar said on Monday that he had resigned as Defence Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet to return to his home state and to the post he held before he was called to Delhi.
- "The BJP is stealing elections in Goa, Manipur. Party that comes second has no right to form government," Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram tweeted on Monday. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who has charge of BJP's Goa affairs retorted, "The Congress was busy in Goa with five to six candidates claiming leadership. So they did not have time to discuss with alliance partners."
- Several newly elected Congress MLAs or legislators are livid that the party's state leadership did not move fast enough to get the support of four legislators that it needed. "It is miserable and horrible...people trusted the Congress and voted for us...we get a clear 17 seats and we still couldn't manage to form government... we are the laughing stock," said Jennifer Monserrate, a Congress leader elected from Taleigao (North Goa).
- Sources say Ms Monserrate and some other Congress legislators like Vishwajeet Rane, a front runner from his party for chief minister, have indicated that they could be looking at quitting the party. There were heated arguments his morning at a Congress meeting in Goa.
- The MLAs have attacked Congress' Goa in charge Digvijaya Singh alleging mismanagement by "seniors" and have in private compared his efforts of to those of Nitin Gadkari , who began negotiations with smaller parties immediately after election results were announced.