Manohar Parrikar wins floor test in Goa assembly, 22 votes to 16
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Mumbai: The Manohar Parrikar-led coalition government in Goa won the floor test in the legislative assembly on Thursday by getting 22 votes to 16 in the 40-member Goa assembly, one more than the simple majority figure of 21.
One MLA was made the speaker for the trust vote and did not vote while one Congress legislator walked out during the floor test against his own party. Congress MLA Vishwajeet Rane walked out during the floor test and later submitted his resignation to the protem speaker. Rane, son of Congress veteran Pratapsinh Rane who himself won his 11th term as an MLA in the Goa assembly elections, also resigned as a Congress member. He said he would re-contest from Valpoi constituency.
Apart from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 13 MLAs, Parrikar also got support from three legislators of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), three legislators of Goa Forward party (GFP), two independents, and Nationalist Congress Party’s lone member Churchill Alemao.
Before the floor test began, Rane told reporters that the delay caused by the Congress leadership in staking claim to form the government had demoralized the people of Goa. “They have lost the trust of voters in Goa,” he said. Hours after the Goa governor appointed Parrikar as the chief minister, Rane had said that as many as 13 of the 17 Congress legislators were angry that the party leadership could not elect a legislative party leader. Later, Rane and other Congress legislator Jennifer Monserrate blamed All India Congress Committee general secretary and Goa observer Digvijay Singh for this delay. Singh hit back on Wednesday with a tweet asking Rane “what he was doing with Parrikar in a Goa hotel”.
A triumphant Parrikar told reporters at a press conference later that the BJP was always confident of winning the trust vote. “The Congress did not have the numbers ever. Today’s floor test was a voluntary vote for us. No MLA was hidden in a hotel or anything,” Parrikar said. The Goa chief minister, who earlier this week resigned as the defence minister and made some deft moves in Goa to stitch together a BJP-led coalition, said “all eyes in India were on this floor test”.
The floor test was ordered by the Supreme Court after the Congress party in Goa filed a petition on 13 March challenging Goa governor Mridula Sinha’s decision to appoint a BJP-led government.
Parrikar was sworn in on 14 March along with eight other ministers.
The chief minister said after winning the trust vote that portfolios would be announced on 18 March. Ministers from MGP and GFP are likely to get important portfolios. In the 40-member Goa assembly, the BJP won 13 seats in the recent elections and later received support from 9 others.
The Congress won 17 seats and emerged the single largest party but never staked claim to form the government. On Thursday morning itself, it became clear that the BJP would sail through the trust vote as the MGP and GFP leaders reiterated their support to the BJP.
GFP legislator Vijay Sardesai, who has been sworn in as a minister, told reporters that there was no way the BJP allies were going to back out now. “See, we have got India’s defence minister to resign and come back as Goa’s chief minister. We are not going to back-stab him,” Sardesai said.