New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test in Goa over government formation in the state on March 16. In the Supreme Court, the bench headed by CJI Khehar observed that the numbers should determine single largest party.  “You would have held a dharna outside Raj Bhavan if you had a majority. You had enough time, there is not a single affidavit from any member who supports you,” the bench said. It also asked the Congress party that why they did not approach the Governor of Goa over government formation.

During the hearing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Congress, alleged that the BJP was indulging in horse-trading and violating the established constitutional practices. “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 day after for logistical reasons as opposed to tomorrow. So Parrikar can be CM for two days, ” Leading daily The Indian Express quoted Singhvi as saying.

The court direction came on a plea by leader of the Congress legislature party in the state assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar who has sought stay of Governor Mridula Sinha’s decision appointing Parrikar as Chief Minister and fixing his swearing in for Tuesday evening.

“However, there is no instruction from SC regarding Manohar Parrikar’s oath taking as Goa CM. Parrikar’s swearing-in ceremony will take place as scheduled, said BJP’s Nalin Kohli. Slamming the Congress party, Nitin Gadkari who has charge of BJP’s Goa affairs said, “There was no horse-trading in Goa. We had discussion with non-BJP MLAs they had some conditions; support was unanimous.”

The Congress had accused Goa Governor Mridula Sinha of flouting the norms by giving the BJP the first chance to stake claim over the government in Goa. The Congress has questioned the Governor’s decision of allowing BJP to stake claim to form the government despite the Congress emerging as the single largest party in the state.

Earlier in the day, the Congress party  staged a walkout from Lok Sabha over the BJP’s move to form government in Goa and Manipur. They had asked for an adjournment motion. Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh had alleged that they had approached the Governor but no appointment was given to the Congress.

The BJP is stealing elections in Goa, Manipur. Party that comes second has no right to form government,” Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had tweeted on Monday. Retorting to his statement,  Nitin Gadkari said, “The Congress was busy in Goa with five to six candidates claiming leadership. So they did not have time to discuss with alliance partners.”

Governor Sinha had invited Parrikar to form the next government in the coastal state after he submitted a letter of support of 21 legislators. In Goa and Manipur, the saffron party was second in the assembly election results 2017, but with the help of allies, the party was in an advantageous position to form a government. Out of 40, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged  13 seats in Goa whereas in the 60-member Manipur assembly it bagged 21 and the Congress party won 28 seats. Three MLAs of the Goa Forward Party, three of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and two Independents have pledged their support to Parrikar.

(With inputs from agencies)