New Delhi: A day after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley justified, in a blogpost, the BJP’s move to stake claim to form the government in Goa, the Congress on Wednesday said the minister should get his facts right.
“I would like to ask Mr. Jaitley as to why people were shouting slogans at Parrikar’s oath taking that he is not their Chief Minister? Why oath-taking was under tight police security? It is clear signal they are afraid of the fact that the mandate of the people is not with them,” Congress MP from Silchar Sushmita Dey said.
She said that the story being spread by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that it staked claim to form the government after the Congress did not do so was incorrect.
“I would like to put it on record that our party tried to meet Governor Mridula Sinha on March 12, but she did not meet. Instead, she invited Manohar Parrikar to form the government,” Dey said.
She dismissed the three precedents cited by Jaitley where Governors had not invited the single largest party to form the government.
In a blogpost on Tuesday, Jaitley wrote: “There was a hung assembly (in Goa). Obviously, post-poll alliances will be formed in a hung assembly. The BJP managed to form an alliance, presenting 21 out of 40 MLAs to the Governor.”
“It was only natural for the Governor to invite the BJP to form the government,” he said, adding that such a development was not unprecedented.
“When the BJP won 30 of 81 seats in Jharkhand in 2005, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Shibu Soren, who had the support of 17 MLAs and a few others, was invited to form the government. Similarly, while the National Conference had 28 MLAs in 2002, the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir invited the PDP-Congress alliance of 15+21 MLAs.
“Closer still, in 2013, the BJP won 31 seats in Delhi but had to give way to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had 28 MLAs and the support of Congress legislators,” he wrote.
Countering this, Dey said that the examples cited by Jaitley were not valid.
“In 2013 Delhi elections, the BJP won 31 seats. But it refused to form the government after being invited. In 2002 J&K polls, the National Conference (NC) had 28 MLAs. Farooq Abdullah had not contested, and Omar Abdullah lost the election from his seat. In those circumstances, the NC said they were not staking claim,” Dey said.
“In Jharkhand in 2005, Shibu Soren was invited to form the government but democracy prevailed as he did not succeed in the floor test,” she added.
She said that constitutional experts are clear that there is an order of priority after the mandate is out.
“It is good constitutional convention to invite the single-largest party.
“Jaitley should get his facts right,” she said.