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Legal experts did not find fault with the Goa governor's decision of inviting BJP leader Manohar Parrikar to form the government in the state, but a senior counsel owing allegiance to the Congress had a different take on it.
Senior advocate and Congress Rajya Sabha MP K T S Tulsi termed Governor Mridula Sinha's decision "entirely wrong", saying she must have given the first preference to the single largest party.
However, others including Supreme Court Bar Association Vice President and senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha and constitutional expert Govind Goel differed with Tulsi and said it is clear from the outcome of today's hearing in the apex court that the governor's decision was correct as she swung into action after being totally satisfied that the BJP-led post-poll alliance would give a stable government.
The reasoning of Tulsi was similar to senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi who argued for the Congress in the apex court which was not impressed with the submission that being a single largest party, the constitutional convention demanded that it should have been called to form the government.
Making his comment hours after the apex court order, Tulsi said, "The governor is entirely wrong, because in Rameshwar Prasad case, it has been clearly laid down that the first preference be given for pre-poll alliance. If there is no pre-poll alliance, the second chance is given to single largest party. If the single largest party is not in a position to form the government, then the third invite is to be given to post-poll alliances. And if again any contingency arises, the governor can ask the independents," he said.
Advocates Sinha and Goel, who concurred with the decision of the governor and findings of the apex court that the Congress did not even cite relevant judgements in support of its claim, said the party made no serious effort to show that it has the numbers in its favour.
"The Congress should have gone to the governor and shown the support of 21 MLAs. They didn't do it. Their leaders waited for the BJP to claim. They made no efforts to form the government. I would rather say a loose effort on their part. The apex court was right enough to allow Parrikar to take oath and let the majority be tested on the floor of the House," Sinha said.
Goel also said, "The governor is expected to be satisfied as to which person has the majority. In case of confusion of majority, the governor goes to the person who has the maximum number of legislators i.E. The single largest party. In Goa, even though the BJP was the second largest, it could satisfy governor prima facie that it has support of the majority of legislators in the House. They were able to produce the letters of support.
A senior advocate and a Congress member, on condition of
anonymity, differed with his colleagues-- Tulsi and Singhvi-- saying the party should have refrained from taking the electoral battle to the apex court and instead, could have handled the situation politically.
This view was shared by some other advocates who had participated actively on behalf of Congress during the crisis last year in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand where the imposition of President Rule by the Centre was quashed by the apex court.
The advocates were of the view that the political battle has been wrongly advised to be turned into a legal battle.
Tulsi was of the view that since no pre-poll alliance was available, the second preference i.E the single largest party was available.
"There was no pre-poll alliance. The second preference was available. The governor ought to have asked them to form the government and undergo a floor test. BJP neither had any pre-poll alliance nor had majority in post poll-alliance. Therefore, it should not have been given preference over Congress," he said.