Panaji: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said the BJP did not do anything illegal to form a government in Goa, but also revealed some of the behind-the-scenes aggressive manoeuvering, which enabled the party, which was short of majority, to clinch power.
At a rally here to felicitate Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who gave up his role as Defence Minister to return to state politics and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah for coming to power in four of the five states where assembly elections were held, he also said that the real architect of the coalition government formation process was Amit Shah.
Gadkari explained how Shah worked the phone to good effect with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and key members of the BJP’s highest decision-making body, the party’s parliamentary board, which triggered a series of developments which led to the BJP eventually cobbling together a coalition government in the coastal state.
One of the obstacles, he said, was the reluctance of two Independent MLAs, whose cooperation was required to reach the majority mark of 21. To counter this, he revealed that a message was sent across to their camp that ministerial berths were being allotted to others.
“They had delayed. The Independent MLAs did not come. I said make others ministers,” he said, adding that once the Independent MLAs got the message, they themselves called and expressed willingness to join the BJP camp.
While the Congress won 17 seats in the state assembly polls, the BJP had won 13 out of 40 seats. But swift decision-making led to the BJP eventually forming a government in Goa, with the support of three MLAs each from two regional parties — Goa Forward and the Maharashtrwadi Gomantak Party — and two Independent MLAs.
On the Congress’ allegation that Constitutional provisions were violated by the BJP in the race for government formation, he said: “We did not do anything wrong. In the history of India, in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assembly elections, those who have the majority are invited to form government.”
Gadkari, who was administered the responsibility to oversee the government formation process by Shah, also credited the BJP chief as the real architect of the victory.
“My mood was that we may not form government, so we should give up. But he called me to his home and told me to go to Goa and that a government should be formed under any condition,” he said.