Goa BJP, allies meet after Manohar Parrikar’s death, no decision on next CM yet

Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who arrived in Panaji in the early hours of the day, could not secure a consensus between the saffron party and its alliance partners in the state, party MLA Michael Lobo said.
Goa chief minister and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar died at his son’s home after a long illness in Panaji on Sunday.(HT File Photo)
Goa chief minister and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar died at his son’s home after a long illness in Panaji on Sunday.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Mar 18, 2019 12:14 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Panaji | ByGerard de Souza

Despite extensive discussions that continued late into the night on Sunday, the ruling BJP failed to break the deadlock over who should fill the shoes of Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar who passed away in the evening.

The party’s central leadership dispatched a team comprising Union minister Nitin Gadkari and party’s national joint organisation secretary B L Santosh who held discussions with BJP MLAs as well as leaders of alliance partners — the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party — and independents.

While initial indications were that the party was keen to arrive at a decision by Sunday night itself, leaders emerging from the meeting said their views were taken but no decision was arrived at.

Differences came to the fore during the meetings, with BJP leader Michael Lobo confirming that MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar placed his unequivocal demand to be made chief minister, which has not found favour with the BJP as well as the Goa Forward Party MLAs and independents.

“A solution will come tomorrow. Sudin Dhavalikar wants to become CM. He has put his demand. That is being worked out. He said ‘I have sacrificed many times by supporting the BJP’. So he wants to become chief minister, but the BJP will not agree to that. That has to be worked out,” Lobo said after the meetings.

Dhavalikar, however, remained tight lipped over what transpired during the meetings with Gadkari and B L Santosh. “Every MLA was asked for his views. It is confidential,” Dhavalikar said adding that “nothing has been decided yet.”

WATCH: Political leaders condole demise of Goa CM Manohar Parrikar

“Whatever decision MGP takes, we will have to take a resolution of the executive committee and give it to them,” he said. BJP members said the final decision rested with the central leadership.

“While this is a priority, we are more concerned about giving a decent state funeral to the tallest leader of Goa, Manohar Parrikar. That is why we are more concerned about that at the moment. Once that is over, we will come to this,” party leader Mauvin Godinho said.

Leader of Goa Forward Party Vijai Sardesai said the BJP had promised to get back to them based on their demands.

“We are in the process of finalising. Nothing is confirmed yet. We have discussed the contours of this alliance and how things should function in future. We have also discussed who should be delegated what and how to work the alliance in future. They (BJP central leadership) have told us that they will get back to us. It is not easy to fill Parrikar’s shoes. We’ll see tomorrow morning,” Sardesai said.

With the party failing to finalise an arrangement to succeed Parrikar as chief minister, the assembly could be placed under suspended animation.

The Congress too herded its MLAs together and staked claim to form the government again claiming to be the single largest party in the state.

“We have some strategies in place and we are just hopeful that the governor calls us soon, because we have the number that is required,” Goa Pradesh Congress Party president Girish Chodankar told media persons outside the official residence of the leader of Opposition where the Congress MLAs were meeting.

Condoling the death of Parrikar, the Congress wrote to the governor saying that the “unfortunate development calls for the immediate action on your part for smooth transition and transfer of power”.

“The coalition partners had allied with BJP on condition that the government is headed by Manohar Parrikar who was the then defence minister of India. The BJP has no allies as of now,” the letter signed by leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar and Chodankar said.

“The Congress being the single largest party the leader of the Congress Legislature Party is entitled to be invited to form the best government,” the letter said.

The Congress has already warned the governor against attempts to dissolve the assembly.

With the demise of Parrikar, the strength of 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly has been reduced to 36. BJP MLA Francis D’Souza died last month, while two Congress members had resigned last year.

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