The Congress has gone to town crying foul over not being invited to form the governments in Goa and Manipur despite being the single largest party. It is a convention and not a rule that the single largest party has to be invited to form the government in a hung assembly.
It is the discretion of the governor to invite the party which manages to prove that it has the numbers. The Supreme Court too made it amply clear on Tuesday that the governor has this discretion and it is the floor test as mandated in the S R Bommai judgment which will be the ultimate test as to which party can form the government.
There have been several instances in the past when a single largest party was not invited to form the government. In 2009, the Congress had said before the counting of votes that the President should not necessarily follow the principle that the single largest party be invited to form the government. Instead look at the stability factor, the Congress had said.
- In 2005, the BJP was the single largest party in the 81 member Jharkhand assembly with 30 seats. However, the JMM with 17 seats with the support of others was invited to form the government.
- The National Conference had in the 2002 elections won 28 seats and was the single largest party. The governor, however, invited the PDP-Congress combine with 15 and 21 MLAs respectively to form the government.
- When the BJP won 31 seats in the 2013 Delhi elections, it was the Aam Admi Party with 28 seats which was invited to form the government along with the Congress.
- In the 1999 Maharashtra elections, the Congress won 75 seats while the NCP which it contested against bagged 58. The BJP-Shiv Sena combine won 125 seats in the 288-member house. However, the Congress was invited to form the government.