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The Congress today said it will do everything under constitutional legalities and rule of law to ensure sentiments and mandate of people defeat the 'sinister design' of the BJP.
It questioned the role of governors in Goa and Manipur and whether the Supreme Court erred in appreciating the unequivocal constitutional position that the single largest party is invited first to form a government.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also alleged that it is clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's brand of "new India" is founded on "defections rather than elections" and noted that democracy has been a casualty in this charade orchestrated by the BJP in Goa and Manipur.
"The BJP that claims to be a 'party with a difference' have truly demonstrated their 'difference' by trampling on institutions and the mandate of people," he said in a blog.
Surjewala said this "trend of destabilising and toppling legitimately elected governments initiated by BJP and pre-empting formation of duly-elected party formations by using money and muscle power is disturbing and constitutes a direct threat to the very foundation of our nation".
"In a liberal democracy that rests on the will of the people, the means to an end is as important as the end itself. This is not an affront to the Congress party but to India's democracy. Each one of us needs to rise up to meet this diabolical challenge," he said.
At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Sushmita Dev said it is a challenge Congress wants to take up and will fight hard without resorting to any means or resources that are not within the permitted lines of persuasion and which are outside the law.
"I can only hope that tomorrow, in the vote on the floor test in Goa Assembly, the aspirations of people of Goa, the hopes of people of Goa are not dashed to the floor.
"The Congress party will do everything in its power but within the legalities of the Constitution and the rule of law to ensure that sentiments and popular vote and mandate of people of Goa defeats the sinister design of BJP," she said.
Taking on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for what it dubbed as an "irrelevant banter" on Congress, Dev asked why the oath- taking ceremony happened under police security in Goa.
"Today the oath of a governor-appointed CM has to take place in security, is the clearest unequivocal signal that they are afraid of the mandate of people that they are not with them," she said, adding that when Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was taking oath, people were sloganeering "He is not our CM".
(Reopens DEL 81) Dev also challenged Jaitley and asked him to correct the facts stated by him in his blog yesterday. She said after Jaitley set the narrative that the Congress "complains too much", she said she is "pained" that in J&K election, the National Conference having 28 MLAs had said that they are not staking claim. In Jharkhand too, she said when Shibu Soren was invited with other parties to form a government, democracy prevailed as he did not succeed in the floor test. "A narrative that has been set by Arun Jaitley that the Congress is complaining without justification, is completely misplaced, is completely unjustified because today we see many constitutional experts clearly of the view that there is an order of priority when a mandate is out, when an election is over and in that order of priority. "There is absolutely no doubt that constitutional convention is to first invite the single largest party where there is no pre-poll alliance, to invite the single largest party where there is a post-poll alliance," she said. "It has become an inherent habit in BJP that by speaking lies a hundred times or hammering the lies, they think they convert it into facts and the truth which is not the case," she said. Dev also alleged double standards by the BJP saying on the one hand its leader Ram Madhav said it is a mandate against the Congress government in Manipur, but it was the same in Goa when the BJP government was voted out and the chief minister losing. To a question on some leaders resigning from the Congress party and also about organisational elections, she said she does not think resignation is the answer to what has unfolded in the results of five state Assembly elections. "I would say that if a general secretary resigns, I think, we should applaud him from doing that.
We should not deplore him from doing that but having said that it cannot work as en-masse formula in the AICC or PCC to resign. "But if any office bearer has resigned, I will applaud him, I will not deplore him but I hope that the people who are in the AICC who are in the PCC, we have elected and wherever we have a government, that we can all work together to change the fortunes of Congress party like we have done in Punjab, like we have done in Goa and frankly in Manipur," she said. She claimed that the Congress has proved that Prime Minister Modi's 'Congress-Mukt Bharat' slogan has failed, as a consequence of the results of five assembly elections. Meanwhile, Surjewala also said, "Abduction, defection, inducement, intimidation and polarisation characterise the vision for 'New India' under Mr Modi." He said the BJP's machinations are at full display in its pursuit to defeat the people's mandate and to install a rejected party at the helm in Panaji and Imphal "by violating every canon of constitutional propriety". The Congress leader said the BJP's argument that the governor was not obliged to invite the single largest party to form the government is not only specious but demonstrates a lack of understanding of settled legal principles as a 9-judge constitutional bench of Supreme Court in S R Bommai vs. Union of India case has categorically laid down criteria. "If 'majority mandate' is to be tested on 'who rushed to the Governor first', we would be setting a dangerous precedent where governors would play the 'black magic' of converting 'minority' into 'majority'. This would turn the constitutional obligation of the governors under Article 164 on its head," he said.