Panaji: Manohar Parrikar, who quit as Defence Minister, today took oath as the chief minister of Goa to head a coalition government, three days after the BJP ended up second behind the Congress in a fractured mandate.
Parrikar (61) took oath along with nine MLAs including two members of the BJP, three of the Goa Forward Party, two of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and as many Independents.
The BJP stalwart, who resigned as the Defence Minister yesterday, returned to Goa as the chief minister for fourth time, though he could not complete full terms in his earlier stints.
He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at the Raj Bhawan here, two days after she appointed Parrikar as the chief minister and asked him to prove majority on the floor of the House within 15 days.
BJP president Amit Shah and Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu were present at the swearing-in ceremony.
The Supreme Court today directed that the floor test be conducted on March 16.
It cleared the decks for Parrikar's oath taking by refusing a plea of the Congress to stay the ceremony, saying the BJP has shown the support of 21 out of the 40 newly- elected MLAs.
The Congress has emerged as the single largest party by winning 17 seats in the fractured verdict.
Parrikar said the portfolios will be alloted after the new government proves majority on floor of the Legislative Assembly.
Justifying his return to the state, he said, "Regional parties have taken the lead to form this government and have requested me to lead them by resigning as defence minister."
Parrikar's anointment came amid an intense tug-of-war between the BJP and the Congress, which has questioned the legitimacy of the saffron party's bid to power given it has failed to secure the popular mandate.
The BJP has enlisted support of three MLAs each of the MGP and GFP and two Independents to attain the halfway mark of 21 in the 40-member Assembly.
In the 40-member House, the Congress has 17 MLAs, followed by the BJP with 13, MGP (3), GFP (3), NCP (1) and Independents (3)....