New Delhi: Former Defence Miniaster and Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parikar was on Tuesday sworn in as the Goa chief minister for the fourth time.
Parikar resigned from the post of Defence Minister, and took the oath of office for the fourth time in presence of top BJP leaders including BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gakari and several other dignitaries.
Also , nine ministers were sworn in during the ceremony, namely Sudin Dhavalikar and Manohar Azgaonkar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palienkar and Jayesh Salgaonkar of the Goa Forward, Francis D'Souza, Pandurang Madkaikar of the BJP and Independent legislators Govind Gawde and Rohan Khaunte.
For Parrikar , the fourth stint in the top post comes following the party's emphatic mandate in the assembly polls last weeks.
Parrikar, the IITian to become Chief Minister for the fourth time, his two previous terms - October 2000-02, February 2002-05 - had been bumpy rides with constant pinpricks from his alliance partners. But his third term, March 2012-14, had no coalition strains attached.
BJP in 2012, enioyed a simple majority of 21 in 40-member assembly and also has buffer of three MLAs of ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and two Independents.
Hinting out at the Congress earlier remarks on BJP of using money to "steal the mandate" in Manipur and Goa, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said the party "complains a bit too much" and tyhe Goa Governor could not have invited the 'minority' of Congress MLAs to form the government.
"The Congress did not submit a claim to the Governor. It had only the support of 17 MLAs. In the face of claim of the 21 MLAs led by Manohar Parrikar, the Governor could not have invented the minority of 17 MLAs to form the Government," Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
He also cited several precedents to support the decision of the Governor, including one from 2013's verdict of Delhi Assembly polls where BJP won 31 seats but the Aam Aadmi Party with 28
MLAs support of Congress was invited to form the government.
"The Congress Party complains a bit too much. It accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of 'stealing' the mandate in Goa. It unsuccessfully petitioned before the Supreme Court. It attempted to raise issue in the Lok Sabha," said Jaitley.
The Finance Minister said that the assembly elections in Goa produced an inconclusive verdict.
"There was a hung assembly. Obviouslyin a Hung Assembly post-poll alliance will be formed. The BJP managed to form an alliance and presented to the Governor 21 out of 40 MLAs," he said.
On support of the Goa Governor's move, Jaithly also cited an example of March 1988 when President K.R. Narayanann invited Atal Behari Vajpayee to form the Government.
According to Jaitley, the President had said "when no party or pre-election alliance of parties is in a clear majority, the Head of State has in India or elesewhere, given the first oppotunity to the leader ofthe party or combination of parties that has won largest number of seats to the Prime Ministers so appointed obtaining majority support on the floor of the house within a stipulated time.
This procedure is not, however, all time formula because situations can arise where MPs not belonging to the single largest party or combination can, as a collective entity, out-number the single largest claimant.
"The President's choice of Prime Minister's claim of commanding majority support," Jaitley added.
He said the Governor in Goa had only one claim of 21 MLAs out of 40 elected MLAswith Manohar Parrikar as their leader.
"The 17 MLAs of Congress did not even make a claim nor electedeir leader. How could the Congress ever be invented to form the government?" he asked.