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Congress, RJD rush to ‘stake claim’ to forms govt in Goa, Manipur, Bihar

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite BJP, the single-largest party but short of majority to form government in Karnataka had a domino effect on Thursday.

Congress said it was the single-largest party in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya but was not invited to form government and demanded that Assemblies in those states be dissolved. RJD, too, made a similar demand in Bihar.

“On the basis of the rule followed in Karnataka, Congress, being the single-largest party, should be re-invited to form government in Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

Congress leader and AICC Secretary Dr A Chella Kumar, in-charge of Goa affairs, rushed to Panjim on Thursday to stake claim to form government.

Congress with 17 seats had emerged as the single-largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly in March 2017 but the Governor, Mridula Sinha, invited BJP, having 12 MLAs, to form government in a post-poll coalition with MGP and GFP.

“We have 16 legislators and are the single-largest party in Goa. The Governor should invite us to form government as per the precedent set by her Karnataka counterpart,” said Dr Kumar.

Congress legislature party chief Chandrakant Kavlekar said, “We will stake claim on Friday by submitting a formal letter containing signatures of all 16 MLAs to the Governor.”

In Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav, former deputy chief minister, also requested Governor Satya Pal Malik to dissolve the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-BJP coalition government and invite RJD to form government.

In a pre-poll alliance, RJD had emerged as the single-largest party with 80 seats in the 2015 Bihar elections, while JD(U) with 70 seats and Congress with 27 had finished second and fourth, respectively. But later, JD(U) allied with BJP, having 53 seats, to form government with the help of smaller parties like LJP, RLSP and Independents.

“Like in Karnataka, the Governor should invite the single-largest party, which in Bihar is RJD. I and MLAs will meet the Governor as we are the single-largest party of Bihar,” Yadav said.

RJD has decided to hold a one-day dharna on Friday against the “murder of democracy in Karnataka”.

In Manipur, former Congress chief minister Ibobi Singh also raised a similar demand. In the March 2017 elections, Congress with 28 members had emerged as the single-largest party in the 60-member Assembly leaving behind BJP on the second spot with 21 MLAs.

However, on being called by Governor Najma Heptullah, BJP managed to form government through a post-poll tie up with NPP, NPF, LJP and winning over one MLA from Congress.

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