Dismissing the Congress’ objection to attempts at government formation in Manipur and Goa, BJP today said Congress has failed to muster the numbers and “has no moral right” to protest due to its past actions.
“Congress has dismissed non-Congress governments umpteen number of times in the past misusing powers and Article 356.
It did not allow the largest party to form the government (in the past). They have no moral right to criticise.
“If anyone in the country has violated democratic tradition, it is the Congress only,” Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said outside Parliament.
The Congress and its allies staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha to protest the efforts to install BJP government in Goa and Manipur, where Congress had emerged as the largest party.
The Congress has alleged that the BJP is moving against the law and precedent in forming governments in Goa and Manipur.
Attacking Congress, Naidu gave examples of government formation at the behest of Congress in Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka and Andhra in the past.
“We have the numbers. They (Congress) could not even elect a leader. We have elected the leaders. They could not gather the numbers and still they are protesting to mislead the public,” the BJP leader said.
Describing the Congress protest as a “misinformation campaign”, he said, “In Goa and Manipur, no party has got absolute majority. Other parties have come forward to form government with the BJP there. They have selected their leaders and approached respective Governors to form governments.
“They have submitted all details to the Governors. The Governors did not have any alternatives so they decided accordingly.”
Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley also took a swipe at Congress, saying it “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 issues in the Lok Sabha,” he said in a facebook post.
In view of the claim of 21 MLAs led by Manohar Parrikar, the Governor could not have invited the minority of 17 MLAs to form the government, he said, adding that “there are several precedents which support this decision of the Governor”.
Naidu too said, “The Governor invited Manohar Parrikar after getting all the details. But the way the Congress claims that it was murder of democracy, it does not suit Congress to talk of murder of democratic process and misuse of Governor’s power.”
Referring to the democratic tradition practised in the country, he said, “The Governor will call if any party claims majority including on the basis of pre-election ties. There was no other way.”
Hitting out at Congress, Naidu said, “I want to ask what happened in 2005 in Jharkhand. The then Governor Sibte Razi had invited Shibu Soren though the single largest party was BJP. But JMM was called to form the government at the behest of the Congress.
“In Bihar also Governor Buta Singh did not invite BJP-JD(U) alliance, despite it having almost majority.”
He also gave example of Uttar Pradesh saying “in 1998 in UP, the then Governor Romesh Bhandari dismissed Chief Minister Kalyan Singh and did not allow him to prove his majority in the House.
“Later on the Governor had to revise his decision after Atal Bihari Vajpayee had resorted to hunger strike.
“SR Bommai was also similarly dismissed in Karnataka, In 1983-84,the popular NTR government in Andhra Pradesh was dismissed and a puppet was installed by the then Governor Ram Lal.”
Recalling Emergency days, the BJP leader said, “In 1975, all non-Congress governments were dismissed.”
He said there are many instances where the Governor was forced to call those parties in minority to prove their majority first.
Justifying the Governors’ action in Goa and Manipur, he said, “BJP is saying we have the numbers. Congress is saying even if we do not have the numbers you first invite us and then we will mobilise the numbers. You make us CM then we will mobilise numbers. And they went to Supreme Court also.”
He said the government led by Manohar Parrikar is ready to prove majority in 15 days time in Goa. “But Congress and its allies are saying democratic tradition is murdered.”
On SC’s direction, he said one has to respect the Supreme Court guidelines and observations.
Naidu, who was heading for Goa, said, “We are confident that Parrikar will prove majority.”