Hung Goa: SC fast-forwards floor test for Parrikar to Thursday

The Supreme Court today ordered a floor test to be held in the Goa Assembly on Thursday morning, even as it refused a Congress party appeal to stay the swearing-in ceremony of a Manohar Parrikar-led government.

The Supreme Court has refused to stay the swearing-in ceremony of Parrikar. It has ordered that the floor test be conducted on March 16 or within 48 hours. So the swearing in could take place this afternoon.

Unhappy with the Bharatiya Janata Party going ahead and claiming to have the required numbers to form a government despite ''not having the mandate of the people'', the Congress Legislature Party met at the party headquarters and was scheduled to meet governor Mridula Sinha this afternoon after she refused to meet them this morning.

In remarks before boarding a bus to meet the governor along with his MLAs, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said the SC order was a victory for his party. Meanwhile Parrikar refused to speak to the media, only saying, ''Come to the swearing-in ceremony and I will tell you what I have to, over there.''

Senior BJP leader and Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, speaking on the developments in Goa and Manipur, which have thrown up hung Assemblies, said, ''A majority was not received by any parties in Goa and Manipur, other parties gave us support for formation of government.''

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said, ''We are in opposition, you have ups and downs, we had a little down in UP, it's fine, we accept that. It's very difficult to stake a claim in Goa as the governor appointed Parrikar as CM. It's not about how soon you went, it's with how much money you went.''

The Congress Party has reportedly agreed to 11-term MLA Pratapsingh Rane as their representative in the floor test, while the BJP has gone with former deputy CM Francis D'Souza.

The BJP office, meanwhile, has already given a ''comprehensive guest list'' to Raj Bhavan and all arrangements are in place.

Earlier, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said outside Supreme Court, ''The governor didn't talk or telephone the single largest party. How could she arrive at a decision? The Supreme Court has intervened in significant manner. The governor had given 15 days, we know how it is used to cobble up a majority. We wanted a floor test. The court has preponed it significantly for the day after for logistical reasons as opposed to tomorrow. So Parrikar can be CM for two days.''

The governor had earlier given Parrikar 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house. He now has 48 hours to prove it. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who petitioned the SC, said it was for the BJP to decide if they want to hold the swearing-in today or not. ''It's for them to decide if they want to be CM for two days.''

Meanwhile, there is renewed excitement at Congress House in Panjim. Senior MLAs Dayanand Sopte, Vishwajit Rane and others are happy with the order. The CLP meeting will get the MLAs in line for the floor test.

The Congress party wants the governor to issue a letter of invitation to form a government to them as well, before the swearing-in ceremony.

In the election, the BJP won 13 seats and the Congress 17. Goa Forward won three, MGP won three and there were three were independents. The NCP has one seat. Letters of support have been given to BJP by the MGP, the Goa Forward and the three independents. But the Congress insists it has the 21 MLAs needed to form a government.