After being sworn in as the Goa Chief Minister for a fourth term on Tuesday, Manohar Parrikar said that the BJP alone, not the Congress, could bring stability to the state and rubbished the Congress' charge that the BJP's coming to power was immoral.
He now has to take the trust vote on Thursday (March 16) to prove he has the support of the majority to run the government.
Speaking to India Today, Parrikar while conceding that the mandate given by the electorate was fractured went on to add in the same vein that the BJP had a higher percentage of votes.
BJP won 13 seats as opposed to Congress' 17 in the 40-member Goa assembly, but managed to win over support from small regional parties to get to the required mark.
COMING TO GOA A MATTER OF COMPULSION: PARRIKAR
The BJP leader said that coming back to Goa was a matter of compulsion for him. Two parties had agreed to support BJP on the precondition that I take over as the chief minister. "They felt that I could lead a coalition government well."
Rubbishing the Congress' charge that the BJP's forming the government in Goa was immoral, Parrikar said that while the BJP got fewer seats, no party had got a majority in the state. "We did not lure anyone. The smaller parties did not offer support the Congress because they were not sure how Congress would treat them. This is what their reputation is. Congress is a conglomerate of vested interests."
Parrikar said, "The support extended to BJP to form the government is only for Goa's development. No MLA wanted to support Congress. If Congress had the support, why did they not go the Governor to stake their claim to form government."
India Today's Rajdeep Sardesai spoke to Parrikar in an exclusive interview. Excerpts:
Rajdeep: Mr Parrikar, one of your allies is the Goa Forward. This party attacked you right through the campaign. They even called you a fixer and said that the BJP was a party of Narakasurs and dictators on Facebook posts. Today you have aligned and given them three ministerships?
Parrikar: I don't see any reason in not aligning on a Common Minimum Programme for the betterment and development of Goa. This is basically a coalition government, not a government of BJP alone.
Rajdeep: Isn't it a government of compromise?
Parrikar: Not at all. Ultimately you have to run a government. It was they who requested me to become the chief minister. They approached us with the condition that if Parrikar is coming in as CM, they are ready to support. Because they know in Congress, there are so many small groups that fight with each other, that Congress will virtually make a mess of the situation.
Rajdeep: Rahul Gandhi says that both governments in Goa and Manipur are being run by the BJP through money power?
Parrikar: No. Probably he has the experience of doing so. When I was Defence Minister, all the scams that came out happened during their government. There's no financial deal anywhere. You know very well my reputation on this.
TOP COURT SLAMS CONGRESS
Earlier on Tuesday, Supreme Court criticised the Congress' challenging of BJP government's claim to form government, saying its petition to judges had no proof to suggest that it had the numbers that were needed.
Moreover, rejecting Rahul Gandhi's charge that the BJP had "stolen the mandate" in Goa, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said, "The Congress complains a bit too much. It accused the BJP of "stealing" mandate in Goa. It unsuccessfully petitioned before the Supreme Court. The Congress did not even submit their claim to the governor."