Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today proved he has the numbers. He won the floor test with 22 MLAs. NCP’s Churchill Alemao backed him, along with 13 from his party the BJP, three from MGP, three from Goa Forward and two Independents. The Congress failed to match its own number of 17 as Vishwajit Rane abstained from voting.
This concludes our Goa election coverage. To view our entire Goa reportage, click here.
Goa floor test highlights:
1.00 pm: Vishwajit Rane has reacted to him abstaining from the trust vote. “This is the first step of rebellion against the Congress,” he says, adding that the Congress should have stitched an alliance on the night of March 11. “I will not reveal anything now. Congress leaderships’ handling of affairs has led to this condition of Congress.”
12.47 pm: Parrikar has also said that he will allot portfolios to the cabinet ministers tomorrow and that the notification for the same will come out day after as the Governor is not in Goa. A full-fledged allotment of portfolios will take place in April, once the Budget session is completed.
12.45 pm: Chief Minister Parrikar refused to comment on Vishwajit Rane abstaining from the trust vote saying that was a matter for the Congress to deal with.
12.35 pm: Parrikar: “The resolution motion was passed with 22 to 16. With Speaker supporting the ruling benches. We have proved before the people of India, and as promised we have the support of 23, debunking Digvijaya’s claim that they have numbers. They didn’t have it from the beginning. There was talk that Digvijaya has stepped down as desk in-charge. This happens when you come to Goa only to enjoy and not to work.”
“There are wild allegations being made with coloured glasses. As you saw, everyone voluntarily came and voted. Nobody was kept in a hotel or secluded place.”
12.22 pm: BJP wins with 22 seats, Congress manages support of only 16 MLAs. Vishwajit Rane abstains from voting. NCP’s Churchill Alemao votes in favour of the BJP government.
12.21 pm: We now move to the much awaited floor test. Meanwhile, Vishwajit Rane has not yet returned to his seat. Hmm.
12.20 pm: And we’re done with the swearing-ins. The last was Canacona MLA Isidore Fernandes of the Congress Party.
12. 17 pm: Congress’ Philip Neri Rodrigues also took oath as MLA. He represents Velim constituency in South Goa. His victory in Velim is what prevented Goa Forward from getting a 100 per cent strike rate in the recent election. They won three out of the four seats they contested.
12.15 pm: NCP MLA Churchill Alemao has also been administered oath. Following him was Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Luizinho Faleiro. Faleiro does not get along with Vijai Sardesai and has been accused of being the reason why an alliance between the Congress and Goa Forward did not succeed.
12.12 pm: Goa Forward Party’s Vijai Sardesai, who has been the kingmaker in the whole government formation drama, takes oath in the Goa Assembly. Following him was Margao MLA and former chief minister Digambar Kamat.
12.10 pm: We are about halfway done with the swearing-in of MLAs. There’s much chatter in the Assembly between Vijai, Sudin and Parrikar.
12.00 pm: Where is Vishwajit? After taking oath, the junior Rane is not in his seat. Of course he could have gone for a loo break before the tense trust vote.
11.55 am: “All is well?” Ravi Naik asks Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar as he walks up to the podium to take oath as MLA, leaving the audience chuckling.
11.45 am: Congress MLA Jennifer Monserrate takes oath as MLA. She represents the Taleigao constituency and voiced her opinion against the attitude of senior Congress leaders post the election result that ended up in the Congress being unable to form government despite emerging as the largest single party. She’s one of the two women MLAs in the 40-member house. The other is BJP MLA Alina Saldanha.
11.45 am: Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte takes oath as MLA. During his election he was backed by the Congress Party, but he has now offered support to the BJP.
11.40 am: All 39 MLAs are now being administered oath by pro-tem Speaker Kuncalienkar. Parrikar will not be administered oath as he is not an MLA and is currently a Rajya Sabha MP representing Lucknow. He will have to contest a bye-election within six months.
11.30 am: All the MLAs have arrived inside the Assembly. The session willbegin with their swearing in ceremony followed by the floor test. Dayanand Sopte takes oath first as he is from the first constituency, Mandrem. Sopte defeated BJP chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
11.15 am: “No question of being approached by the Congress Party,” says Vijai Sardesai, outside the Goa Assembly. “We’re Goans and we keep our word,” he says, adding that the BJP was sure to prove its majority in the house. “I supported the BJP because our agenda can be only fulfilled by stable government,” the Goa Forward Party leader said.
11.10 am: Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly, senior Congress MLA Pratapsingh Rane said the Congress will never give up and we will continue fighting. “We have the people,” he said. Meanwhile, Goa Congress chief Luizinho Faleiro has expressed confidence saying the party will win the floor test today. “Congress is united and strong and we will prove our majority in Assembly,” Faleiro said.
11.05 am: The one-day Goa Assembly session will convene now. First on the agenda is the swearing-in of all the 40 MLAs. Once this is completed, the pro-tem Speaker will call for a floor test, asking the chief minister to prove his strength.
10.50 am: In an interview to a tabloid, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha said she didn’t the BJP to form government as the Congress had 17 MLAs. “I was anticipating that Congress would approach me first after securing the support of some groups, and form its government. But they didn’t show up. No one even called,” she told Mumbai Mirror.
10.35 am: Congress MLA Vishwajit Rane has clarified on his stand with speculation rife that he may quit the party soon. “As of now, I am with Congress party. I am going to vote for Congress,” he told reporters outside the Assembly.
10.25 am: Sources indicate that the Congress has almost given up on winning the floor test in Goa. They have reportedly been unsuccessful in obtaining support from smaller parties and independents. They need just three more, one of which they claim will be NCP’s Churchill Alemao. Alemao, however, has refused to come out and say who he will support, but has promised support to whichever government is in power.
10.15 am: Chief Minister Parrikar rubbished allegations that the BJP tried bribing MLAs to garner support. Speaking to reporters after taking charge as chief minister, Parrikar said: “Those people who have practiced (in the past of bribing MLAs to join their party) are making such baseless allegations. When you don yellow sunglasses, the whole world looks yellow. This is the same situation with them (the opposition party).”
10. 00 am: Meanwhile, former Goa Forward President Prabhakar Timble has also slammed the government’s decision to appoint a very junior MLA Sidharth Kuncalienkar as the pro-tem speaker. In a statement issued, he said: “The new government wants to begin by breaking constitutional conventions and well established parliamentary practices and advised the Governor to appoint the junior most member of the Assembly as Protem Speaker sending the signal from the start itself that we don’t care.”
9.55 am: With barely an hour left for the floor test to begin, we’d like to know who you think will win the floor test today. Take the poll below.
9.50 am: What will happen at 11 am? The one-day session will begin with the pro-tem speaker swearing-in all the 40 MLAs. Once they take oath of office, the pro-tem speaker will order a floor test. In all likelihood, the floor test will be via a show of hands first and through a normal voting process where the results are displayed on the screen behind the speaker’s chair. The Congress has demanded that it be conducted via secret ballot.
9.45 am: The Goa government has gone ahead and decided the budget session dates. The budget will be presented on March 24, while the Governor’s address to the assembly will take place on March 23. Parrikar has said this year’s budget won’t have a lengthy speech but will be more of numbers and data.
9.40 am: Citizens, NGOs and activists from across Goa have called for a protest meeting this evening at the Lohia Maidan in Margao. The protest is against the BJP cobbling up a majority with smaller political parties despite not having the mandate of the people.
9.35 am: Meanwhile, in Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh will take oath as chief minister. This will be his second term as chief minister. The swearing-in ceremony is likely to begin in a short while from now. This is the only state where a Congress government is being formed of the five states that contested.
9.30 am: Chief Minister Parrikar has arrived at the Goa Assembly with a smile. While he refused to speak to the media before the floor test, the CM and a group of ministers will address the media post the floor test.
9.25 am: A section of Congress MLAs, led by Vishwajit Rane, have voiced their concern over the failure by the top leadership of the party to form government. Rane, whose family shares good relations with the Gandhis, has written to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asking that action be taken against those responsible. Rane has said he’ll rethink being in the party if Rahul does not respond in time.
9.20 am: At a hurriedly-called press conference last evening, the Congress Party alleged that the BJP spent Rs 1000 crore to ensure they had the numbers to form government. AICC General Secretary Girish Chodankar said: “More than Rs 1000 crore has been used, including the money from casinos. Casino people were very much there at Raj Bhavan for the last two days.”
9.15 am: Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party reiterates what he told us two days ago. “We are with Manohar Parrikar as long as the government adheres to our common minimum programme.” Sardesai’s Goa Forward Party has three MLAs and is crucial to the survival of the Parrikar government. Read more about it here
9.10 am: The Congress Party has now demanded that the floor test be conducted via a secret ballot as opposed to a show of hands. However, the pro-tem Speaker Kuncalienkar is unlikely to give in to this demand. The Congress is banking on the support of Independent candidates as well as NCP’s Churchill Alemao.
9.05 am: At a discussion with news channel NDTV last night, Digvijaya reiterated that there was no crisis in the Congress Party and that he had the numbers to defeat Parrikar on the floor of the House. He, however, did not reveal where the numbers will come from.
9.00 am: The government has appointed Sidharth Kuncalienkar as the pro-tem Speaker in Goa. The Congress, however, has objected to the decision, writing to the Governor saying precedent dictates that the eldest member of the House is appointed pro-tem speaker. In this case, it would be Congress MLA Pratapsing Rane.
8.45 am: Let’s recap the numbers for you. The Congress Party was the single-largest party with 17 MLAs. The BJP came second with 13. Goa Forward Party won three seats, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP won three as well. Three Independents won the election as well as Churchill Alemao, who contested on the NCP ticket. To win, Parrikar or the Congress has to show a simple majority of 21 seats in the assembly.