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Congress asks BJP to name ailing Parrikar’s replacement as Goa admin was on the ‘verge of collapse’

Goa Congress president Shantaram Naik alleged that the state was in ‘complete crisis’ and administration was on the ‘verge of collapse’. He also said one cannot ignore the fact that the coalition government is not in a position to run the state in Parrikar’s absence.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2018 23:36 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ailing Parrikar,Parrikar's absence in Goa,Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar
The tactic comes in the wake of statements from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party that their support to the BJP will continue till Manohar Parrikar remains the chief minister.(HT File Photo)

With Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar out of action due to illness, the Congress, as part of its carefully crafted strategy, is putting pressure on the Bharatiya Janata Party to name his replacement, arguing that the state administration is in crisis.

The tactic comes in the wake of statements from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP) that their support to the BJP will continue till Parrikar remains the chief minister. GFP leader Vijay Sardesai had even said they pledged their support to Parrikar and not the BJP. The Congress has suggested that the senior-most minister in the coalition should assume the chief minister’s post till Parrikar recovers.

“Our wishes are with the CM and we pray for his speedy recovery but, at the same time, the state can’t be left without proper administration. We can’t ignore the fact that the coalition government is not in a position to run the state in Parrikar’s absence,” Goa Congress president Shantaram Naik said. Naik alleged that the state was in “complete crisis” and administration was on the “verge of collapse”.

Meanwhile, the Congress has opened channels of communication with the GFP and some Independents on government formation in case the BJP names Parrikar’s replacement.

In the 40-member assembly, the Congress is the single largest party with 16 legislators, followed by the BJP with 14. The BJP is supported by three legislators each of the MGP and the GFP.

Three Independents and one member of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have also pledged their support to the BJP. To form a government, a party or a coalition needs 21 members.

The Congress faced a shocking defeat in Goa last year. Though it emerged as the single-largest party with 17 seats, the BJP with 13 legislators moved in to secure the support of the GFP, the MGP and Independents to form the government.

However, the opposition party senses an opportunity this time and hopes to garner the support of GFP and Independents to form the government. A Congress leader familiar with the developments said his party was willing to give the deputy CM’s post to Sardesai in case he was ready to dump the BJP.

“We have started back-channel talks with some Independents and they are ready to support us. The BJP is in a precarious situation. If it names Parrikar’s successor, the government may fall and if it doesn’t, the state will suffer,” he claimed.

The MGP and the GFP also share uneasy relations. The MGP has often accused the GFP of having a tacit understanding with the Congress in destabilising the coalition government. On the other hand, the MGP has also alleged that the BJP was trying to stop it from growing in the state.

Under the present circumstances, Naik said Parrikar should hand over the administration to the senior-most minister in his cabinet till he recovers.

First Published: Mar 01, 2018 23:09 IST