Manohar Parrikar stakes claim to form government in Goa, appointed chief minister

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Panaji, Goa, India Mar 12, 2017, 12.42 PM (IST)

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday appointed incumbent defence minister Manohar Parrikar as the chief minister of the state, asking him to prove majority within 15 days after taking oath.

Parrikar met the Governor with letters of support and staked claim to form the government, outmanoeuvreing the Congress -- which had emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats in the 40-member assembly -- in its bid for power.

"Governor Mridula Sinha has appointed Manohar Parrikar, the Leader of the Goa BJP legislature party, as the chief minister of Goa," Rupesh Kumar Thakur, Secretary to Governor has stated in the press note issued on Sunday night.

Parrikar has submitted evidence before Governor, the support of 13 MLAs of BJP, three MLAs of Maharashtrawadi Gomkantak Party, three of the Goa Forward party and two independent MLAs thus having a total strength of 21 MLAs in the 40-member assembly, the note stated. 

Though the lone NCP member Churchill Alemao has also backed the coalition, he is yet to submit the formal letter of support.

"I promise that we will give stable government which will work towards the development of the state," Parriakar told reporters in a joint press conference with Union minister and BJP's Goa election in-charge Nitin Gadkari.

Nitin Gadkari clarified at the press conference that Manohar Parrikar will resign as defence minister before taking oath as the chief minister. He added that the BJP was forming the government in the state with "like-minded parties" who said they would support the party only if it was led by Manohar Parrikar.

"When none of the parties could get absolute majority in Goa, it was obvious that we would form the government with the like-minded parties. I held meetings with MGP and Goa Forward Party who put forth the condition that they would support the party only if government is led by Manohar Parrikar," he said.

Gadkari said the decision to send Parrikar, who was doing a "tremendous good job as defence minister, back to Goa has been endorsed by BJP Parliamentary Board. 

Earlier on Sunday, newly-elected Goa BJP MLAs had unanimously backed Manohar Parrikar as the state legislature party leader, while the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) too said it will support a government led by Parrikar.

"All the BJP legislators, except Milind Naik, whose brother expired yesterday, were present in the meeting held today," BJP MLA Michael Lobo told reporters outside the party headquarters here, news agency PTI reported. 

"It was unanimously resolved to request party president Amit Shah to allow Manohar Parrikar to be elected as the legislature party leader in Goa," Lobo said.

"We have already decided to forward a copy of the resolution to the party president. A letter would be written asking him to permit Parrikar to head our legislature wing," he said.

The BJP's efforts to gather a majority to form a government in Goa received a boost as the MGP said it would extend support to the saffron party, if Parrikar was appointed as the Chief Minister.

"MGP has already extended its support while we are in discussions with Goa Forward Party and independents," Lobo said.

The MGP on Sunday passed a resolution extending support to the BJP, if it forms government under the leadership of Parrikar.

The Congress, which won 17 seats, had Saturday emerged as the single largest party in the Goa Assembly polls, which threw up a hung verdict.

The party today (March 13) accused the BJP of "murdering" democracy in Goa and dubbed Parrikar as "villain" after the saffron party stole march on it.

Digvijay Singh, general secretary of the All India Congress Committee, accused Parrikar of indulging in "horse trading and "hijacking the popular mandate which was in favour of the Congress."

(WION with inputs from PTI)