By making a mockery of the confidence vote in the Assembly, the Congress-led regime in Goa has committed a brazen fraud on the Constitution. The straightforward way out of this crisis is for Governor S.C. Jamir to dismiss the illegitimate government of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat immediately — and invite the Leader of the Opposition, Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party, to take his turn. After seeing its majority melt away, the Congress relied on Speaker Pratapsinh Rane to manipulate the floor test by preventing three members of the House from casting their vote. One of them, Victoria Fernandes, was a Congress dissident who submitted her resignation but failed to comply with the Assembly rule that required her to convince the Speaker that her resignation was ‘voluntary’ and ‘genuine.’ But no law or rulebook can justify the manner in which Mr. Rane prevented the two members of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Sudin Dhavalikar and Dipak Dhavalikar, from voting. These legislators, who had extended support to the Congress-led alliance after last month’s Assembly election, were well within their rights in withdrawing support to the government. A section of the MGP top rung was in favour of continuance of support, but the two MLAs who comprise the MGP legislature party are not legally bound by any decision of the organisational leadership. The Speaker compounded the flagrant illegality of his actions by casting his vote in favour of the government — even though there was no tie.
The BJP clearly has the numbers in its favour. So what the Speaker did was to cynically rob Mr. Parrikar of the opportunity to prove the numerical superiority of the opposition in the House. It was no surprise that Mr. Parrikar led a walkout of the members of the newly formed Goa Democratic Alliance ahead of the confidence vote, which was then deemed to have been passed by a voice vote. The Governor, who asked for an early floor test and sent in his observer to oversee it, is himself on test. He needs to demonstrate that he has no role whatsoever in the anti-constitutional game played by the Speaker and the Congress party. He must act decisively to undo the constitutional mischief by dismissing the Kamat regime, invite Mr. Parrikar to form his government, and ask him to prove his majority in the House as early as possible. It is the democratic responsibility of the Congress high command to ensure that the Speaker does not persevere in a course that is guaranteed to bring more infamy and chaos to the governance of the State — and invite judicial intervention once again in what used to be zealously considered a purely legislative domain.
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