Millennium Post

After Holi hysteria, political frenzy expected in Goa

The spirit of Monday's Holi celebrations is expected to spill over onto Tuesday, with a series of colourful political developments poised to play out over the issue of government formation in the coastal state, which has thrown up a fractured mandate.

While former senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar is scheduled to be sworn in as Chief Minister by Governor Mridula Sinha, the Congress is also expected to meet Sinha on Tuesday morning, demanding that the Congress be granted an opportunity to form a government, because it has emerged as the single largest party in the February 4 elections with 17 MLAs.

In the national capital, the Supreme Court is also scheduled to hear a petition by Congress legislative party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar, who has challenged Sinha's decision to unilaterally invite Parrikar to form a government.

The Congress, which was late off the blocks in staking claim to form government, also faces an internal threat with at least five of its MLAs, openly expressing frustration and disenchantment with the delay by the party's senior leadership and central overseers in making the formal pitch for formation of government on Monday.

Meanwhile, Parrikar, who resigned as Defence Minister on Monday, cautioned the 13 BJP MLAs against demanding ministerial portfolios because of the concessions which need to be made to accommodate allies.

"Supporters of two of our MLAs were expected to demonstrate near out state party office demanding ministerial berths for them on Tuesday. But Parrikar has warned us that ministries for all senior MLAs are just not possible," a BJP MLA who attended the meeting in Panaji told IANS.

When Parrikar arrives for the swearing-in at Raj Bhavan at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, he is reportedly expected to swear-in eight other ministers, two each from the alliance partners Goa Forward and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, two Independent legislators and four from the BJP.

But Parrikar's tryst with his fourth stint as Chief Minister could hang in balance, with the Congress' petition challenging the invitation to the BJP, likely to be heard by the apex court at 10.30 a.m.

"We were the single largest party. The Governor should have invited us to form government according to established constitutional practice... Governor overlooked Sarkaria commission report and M.M. Punchi Commission Report," All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Girish Chodankar told IANS.

While the Congress is scheduled to hold a CLP meeting, before visiting the Governor's palace to demand an invitation to form government, seething internal differences would end up giving a tough time to the party's minders.

At least two legislators from Valpoi and Taleigao Vishwajit Rane and Jennifer Monserrate respectively, have openly dissented against the slow-paced decision-making.

"I am pained at the manner in which our party leaders acted on Monday. We had the chance to form government on Monday because we had the biggest numbers. But our senior leaders squandered their chances because they could not even elect a legislative party leader in time," Monserrate said.

Rane also said that he felt that he "was in the wrong party".

"People in my constituency are extremely disappointed. They have threatened not to vote for the Congress anymore, because we have squandered our best chance to form government," he added.

AICC General Secretary Digvijaya Singh has already accepted the blame for the party's inability to stake claim to form a government on Monday.

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