Congress’ drama in Goa a year after elections, reflects their disregard for Court verdicts and the Constitution

BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa took oath as Karnataka Chief Minister at 9 am today after his party was invited to form the government, and given 15 days to prove majority by the governor. The Congress, to ensure that does not happen, approached the Supreme Court late at night and asked for the swearing-in to be stopped. Three judges of the Supreme Court heard the petition in an unprecedented 2 am hearing, but refused to stay the oath-taking ceremony.

History seems to be repeating and the suspense over the government formation in Karnataka recalls the post-election situation in Goa in 2017. Governor Mridula Sinha that time had invited BJP leader Manohar Parrikar to form the government ordering a floor test to remove all possible ambiguities.

In the 2017 Goa Assembly elections, the BJP had won only 13 of the 40 seats. The Congress emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats. Goa Congress Legislature Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar moved the Supreme Court on March 13, 2017, challenging the Governor’s decision to invite Parrikar to form the government.

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Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, on behalf of the Congress, contended that since there was no pre-poll alliance, the Governor should have first asked the single largest party if it was in a position to form the government. The court, however, ruled that in such a situation, the Governor had discretionary powers and at the same time observed that “If the single largest party has the majority, then no such question has to arise. But when no political party is in majority, then it is the bounden duty of the Governor to see who can form the government. If nothing happens, then the Governor is duty-bound to call the leader of the single largest party but if someone goes to the Governor with a list of supporters, then it is a different issue altogether. Here, at no point in time, you (Congress) have demonstrated that they (BJP) don’t have the numbers but you do. Eventually, it is the question of healthy constitutional convention subject to the numbers,” it said.

Now, it seems Congress has turned the entire situation in an ego battle. After the Karnataka drama, they have claimed that after a year of government formation in Goa, they are going to march to the Governor’s house and demand that Congress be allowed to form the government (since they were the single largest party back then) and dismantle the current, full functional, stable government.

They don’t seem to realise that both times, whether in Goa or Karnataka, the fault lay with their fast asleep party president. In the Goa fiasco, neither party had a clear mandate and BJP was invited to form the government because they staked the claim and asserted that they had the numbers. The court asserted that at no point did Congress demonstrate that the BJP does not have the numbers to form the government. Rahul Gandhi was caught snoozing and despite being the single largest party didn’t stake claim to form the government.

In Karnataka, again since there was no clear mandate, and in the event of no pre-poll alliances, when both parties staked claim, the single largest party was invited to prove majority.

The verdict also made clear, that in such events, the Governor had discretionary powers to decide.

If the verdict delivered by the court when Congress had contested the Goa government is read, it is evident that both Goa and Karnataka decisions by the Governor are legitimate.

What Congress is doing now, is trying to dismantle a functioning government in Goa simply to get power, even if the state is affected in the process.

In both cases, it was the Governor’s discretion, and in both cases, it was because Rahul was snoozing, that the decision was delivered as it was.

Even lawyer Mukul Rohatgi explained the difference between the Goa scenario and Karnataka.

The irony of the situation is Congress has been crying over the same subject since 1952. The Governer’s decision post-Karnataka election has been the same as it was way back in 1952 during the first general election in Madras. That time too the Governor had invited the leader of the single largest party and a person to most likely to command a stable majority to form the government.

The Congress is well aware from innumerable instances in the past that the governor has the right to exercise discretion and appoint a government that is likely to have numbers in a floor test.

As the news of Congress’ drama in Goa trickled in, it was also reported that RJD’s Tejaswi Yadav was trying to pull a similar stunt in Bihar. Social Media erupted with reactions. Some were amused, others, disgusted.

Congress was also reminded that if they were confident of their numbers, they should simply bring a ‘no-confidence motion’ instead of resorting to such theatrics.

It’s time the Congress stops this brouhaha over petty issues, shows faith in the Constitution and the Indian Judicial system and rather indulging in this blame game start working towards its future endeavours because owing to the flawed and untimely decisions taken by the Congress party president the future of the party looks seemingly bleak.


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