Panaji/New Delhi: BJP leader Manohar Parrikar was sworn in Chief Minister of Goa for the fourth time on Tuesday.
Parrikar, who resigned as Defence Minister on Monday, was administered the oath of office by Governor Mridula Sinha in the presence of top BJP leaders including BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, J.P. Nadda and several other dignitaries.
Nine ministers were also sworn in during the ceremony, namely Sudin Dhavalikar and Manohar Azgaonkar of the Maharashtrawdi Gomantak Party, Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palienkar and Jayesh Salgaonkar of the Goa Forward, Francis D'Souza, Pandurang Madkaikar of the BJP and Independent legislators Govind Gawde and Rohan Khaunte.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Parrikar. "Congratulations to @manoharparrikar and his team on being sworn in. My best wishes in taking Goa to new heights of progress," Modi said on Twitter.
Earlier, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed a floor test in the Goa Assembly on Thursday as it refused to interfere with the Goa Governor's decision to appoint Parrikar as Chief Minister.
Directing the floor-test to determine the majority support, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R.K. Agrawal said that all the formalities prerequisite to the floor test, including by the Election Commission, would be completed by March 15.
The court direction came on a plea by leader of the Congress legislature party in the state assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar who has sought stay of Governor Mridula Sinha's decision appointing Parrikar as Chief Minister and fixing his swearing in for Tuesday evening.
The court also rejected the plea by senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi for a composite floor test.
The Congress also raised the issue in Parliament, slamming the BJP for what it said was "not accepting people's mandate" in Manipur and Goa and staking claim to form governments in the two states even though the BJP was not the single largest party.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has taken on additional charge of the Defence Ministry, defended Parrikar becoming the Chief Minister, while hitting out at the Congress for accusing the BJP of using money to "steal the mandate" in Manipur and Goa. Jaitley said the Congress party "complains a bit too much" and that the Goa Governor could not have invited the "minority" of Congress MLAs to form the government.
"The Congress did not even submit a claim to the Governor. It had only the support of 17 MLAs. In the face of claim of the 21 MLAs led by Manohar Parrikar, the Governor could not have invited the minority of 17 MLAs to form the Government," Jaitley said in a Facebook post.