New Delhi: After a brief Holi break, the budget session of Parliament resumed on Tuesday in the backdrop of the assembly election results and the issue of government formation in Goa and Manipur rocked the Lok Sabha with the Congress staging a walkout.
The Congress has alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is moving against the law and precedent in forming governments in Goa and Manipur, even though the Congress is the single largest party in both states. Many Congress leaders have said that the single largest party should have been invited by the governors of both states to form the government.
Here are the latest updates and highlights from the ongoing budget session:
■ 9.10pm: The Congress today accused the BJP of forming governments through governors and indulging in “unfair and illegal manipulation” in state after state. It also said if Manohar Parrikar wants to be a ‘sultan of two days’ he can be so and exuded confidence of winning the floor test in Goa. Talking to reporters, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “Unfortunately, the BJP is now becoming an expert in creating governments through governors, whereas government creation is the work of the people who vote.” He added that “government creation is neither from the governors nor from the party to whom the governor earlier belonged and “still appears to be acting for”. (PTI)
■ 7.15pm: Union home minister Rajnath Singh today dismissed as “baseless” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that BJP was using money to form governments in Goa and Manipur. He was responding to a query on Congress vice president’s charges that the saffron party was “stealing” the mandate of people and “undermining democracy” in Goa and Manipur by use of money power.
“These all are baseless allegations,” Singh told reporters outside the Parliament. (PTI)
■ 7pm: Governor Najma Heptulla invites BJP to form government in Manipur. The swearing-in ceremony at 1pm tomorrow: Raj Bhavan. (PTI)
■ 6.45pm: Municipal elections in Delhi to be held on April 22: State Election Commission. (PTI)
■ 6.30pm: “We have no doubt that Congress will win. The numbers are with us. We will wait and watch,” says Congress’ Abhishek Singhvi on Goa floor test. “If Manohar Parrikar wants to be ‘sultan’ of two days he is welcome to be so: Congress on his swearing-in.” (PTI)
■ 6pm: BJP gets two ministerial berths apart from Parrikar, while allies GFP get 3, MGP 2 and Independents 2. (PTI)
■ 5.45pm: Manohar Parrikar sworn in as chief minister of Goa. Nine MLAs also sworn in as ministers in Goa. (PTI)
■ 5pm: The BJP has clear numbers to form government in Goa and it has given “credible” evidence for that, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said and asserted that the matter should end there. Taking a dig at the Congress, Prasad said the party should introspect why it is losing trust of the people of the country.
“As far as Goa is concerned, the BJP has clearly given credible evidence before the Governor that 22 MLAs are supporting it. Apart from the BJP’s own MLAs, legislators of the MGP, other regional parties and even independents are supporting it,” he said.
“I would like to ask the Congress one simple question—does it have any numbers beyond its 17. If so, has it given that evidence before the Governor along with the name of the parties? None,” Prasad told reporters outside Parliament.
The Union minister said his party along with its leader have shown “conclusive” evidence of majority and the “matter should end there”.
“I know the Supreme Court in a series of cases has held that the Governor is the best person to adjudge as to who can offer stability in the totality of circumstances. The BJP clearly has the numbers,” Prasad said.
“I would like to gently tell my friends from the Congress that... in Uttar Pradesh, a state which has given political space to Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, they have been reduced to seven. Please think and introspect why you are losing the support of the people of India,” Prasad said.
■ 3.25pm: “Congress accusation that BJP is stealing mandate in Goa is a bit too much,” says finance minister Arun Jaitley. (PTI)
— In face of claim of 21 MLAs led by Manohar Parrikar, Goa governor couldn’t have invited minority of 17 Congress MLAs to form the government: Jaitley. (PTI)
■ 2.30pm: The BJP welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to not stay the swearing-in of Manohar Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister, and claimed it will be able to prove majority on the floor of the House.
“We have the numbers to form the government. We have more than 21 MLAs with us with the support of alliance partners,” Goa BJP unit General Secretary Sadanand Tanawade told reporters in Panaji. (PTI)
■ 12.50pm: “BJP misusing money for power,” said Rahul Gandhi on saffron party staking claim to form governments in Goa and Manipur. (PTI)
The Congress vice-president also said, “Need to make structural changes in Congress.”
■ 12.30pm: Congress and its UPA allies on Tuesday staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha to protest the alleged efforts to install BJP government in Goa and Manipur despite it having the numbers. Members of Congress, NCP and RJD raised the issue during Question Hour.
Congress leader in the House Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that democracy is being murdered. When the Speaker said she would not allow the Question Hour to be disrupted and members should raise such matters in the Zero Hour, Kharge said if they are not allowed to raise the issue in the House, where else would they go.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said since the Congress leader has used “strong words”, they should either be expunged or the government be allowed to respond. The Speaker said nothing beyond the questions and answers will be allowed to go on record.
The Congress, NCP and RJD members then staged a walkout. (PTI)
■ 12.10pm: Here’s what the Supreme Court (SC) has said on the Congress party’s petition over government formation in Goa.
— SC refuses to stay swearing in of Manohar Parrikar as Goa CM, orders floor test on 16 March. (PTI)
— SC directs that Assembly session will be called at 11am and only business of the House will be the holding of floor test after swearing in of the members. (PTI)
— SC requests the governor to summon the House for conducting the floor test. (PTI)
— SC directs that all pre-requisites for holding floor test be completed by March 15 including the formalities required by Election Commission. (PTI)
— SC disposes the petition of Congress, saying all issues raised in it can be resolved by simple direction of holding floor test. (PTI)
— SC says Cong has failed to come out with affidavits of MGP and Goa Forward Party MLAs indicating support to it. (PTI)
— SC takes on record governor’s letter showing support of 3 members of MGP, 3 of GFP and 2 independents to BJP taking its strength to 21 in House of 40. (PTI)
■ 11.50am: The Congress party stages a walkout from Lok Sabha over government formation in Goa and Manipur.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused to stay Parikkar’s swearing-in ceremony. (TV reports)
■ 11.15am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting top ministers in Parliament to discuss the strategy inside the two houses.
■ 11.10am: The hearing on the Congress party’s petition challenging appointment of Manohar Parrikar as Goa chief minister has begun in Supreme Court. Parrikar is scheduled to take oath at 5pm on Tuesday. He resigned from the post of defence minister on Monday.