Panaji, March 16 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday won the trust vote in the assembly, with 22 MLAs backing his government and the Congress getting the support of 16 legislators.
In a related development, Congress MLA Vishajit Rane quit the party and also resigned from the assembly, saying he was disgusted with the way the Congress was functioning in Goa.
Parrikar, whose BJP heads a coalition government with a slim majority, was sworn in as Chief Minister of the coastal state for the fourth time on Tuesday.
Parrikar, who is not a legislator and is a Rajya Sabha member, moved a one-line motion of confidence, after which pro-tem Speaker Sidharth Kunkolienkar asked those in favour to stand up.
The pro-tem Speaker overruled opposition member Pratapsingh Rane’s efforts to raise a point of order related to the appointment of a junior member of the assembly as pro-tem Speaker.
The 22 MLAs who supported the motion were those of the Bharatiya Janata Party (minus the pro-tem Speaker), three each of Goa Forward and MGP, three Independents and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao.
Vishajit Rane, who over the last few days had been accusing the Congress leadership of squandering away the chances of forming a government in the state, was not present during the voting.
“We did know how and when he (Rane) disappeared. We do not know where he is. One moment he was perfectly ok, smiling, chatting with us. He also took oath as MLA, but just before the confidence motion was moved, he disappeared,” Congress Legislative Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar told reporters after the trust vote.
Rane later told reporters that he was not happy with the functioning of the Congress and would be quitting it soon.
“I have been complaining about the functioning of the Congress. No one is paying attention. I will be quitting the party soon,” Rane said.
Rane later announced that he had resigned from both the Congress and the Goa assembly, and that his resignation from the house had been accepted.
The Congress alleged that the BJP-led coalition government was not legitimate.
“They have bought over MLAs. They have not allowed us to speak in the assembly or discuss the motion, they have even foisted a Speaker who formerly was reporting to Manohar Parrikar as Chief Minister in 2012.
“There is no legitimacy for this government,” Congress spokesperson and MLA Aleixo Reginaldo told IANS.
The former Defence Minsiter later told reporters that portfolios to the 10-member cabinet would be announced on Saturday.
“Expansion of the cabinet will be done after the budget session is over. The budget session will begin on March 22,” Parrikar said.
Thursday’s trust vote was ordered by the Supreme Court following a petition by the Congress which alleged that Goa Governor Mridula Sinha had played a partisan role in inviting the BJP to form a government although the Congress was the single largest party with 17 MLAs in the 40-member assembly.