Government

“Why Did Goa Governor Consult Jaitley,” Asks Congress

Alleging that Mridula Sinha’s consultation with Arun Jaitley constituted a breach of constitutional norms, the opposition forced Rajya Sabha to adjourn.

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New Delhi: The Congress party forced an adjournment of Rajya Sabha proceedings on Friday over the conduct of Goa’s governor, who invited the BJP to form the government in the state after reportedly consulting  finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Congress members alleged that governor Mridula Sinha’s consultations with Jaitley constituted a breach of propriety and constitutional norms. On Friday, they stormed the well of the house, raising slogans against “murder of democracy”, forcing deputy chairman PJ Kurien to adjourn the house till noon.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said he had given a notice under rule 267 seeking the business of the day to be set aside and to take up “gross constitutional impropriety committed by the governor of Goa.”

Singh read out from an interview Sinha gave to a newspaper in which she reportedly said she did not expect BJP to form the government but spoke to Jaitley before arriving at the decision to call the party to form the government ahead of Congress, which had emerged as the single largest party in the elections. Kurien said the conduct of a governor can be discussed only on the basis of a substantive motion and he had disallowed Singh’s notice under 267.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the conduct of governor was discussed when the Arunachal Pradesh issue was debated in the House.

“Why don’t you move a substantive motion,” Kurien asked. “No. I have to go by rules. You can bring substantive motion, Chairman will consider it.”  Azad said his party colleague Singh had not raised any issue with the conduct of the governor but merely stated what she had said in an interview.

In the interview, he said, the governor said she did not consider BJP to form the government and she had called Jaitley at 2130 hours on Sunday night before inviting them.“How can the governor seek permission of a cabinet minister to form a government,” Azad asked, as Kurien insisted on a substantive motion for any discussion.

Singh said the House was supreme and a sense of members present can be taken and his notice under rule 267 converted into a substantive motion. Anand Sharma of the Congress party said the Constitution clearly defines the duties and powers of the governor in appointing the chief minister and it does not anywhere state that the governor is supposed to consult a serving cabinet minister.

“Constitution does not allow the governor to consult a cabinet minister” for government formation, he said.