Allies turn up heat on BJP to fill Goa power vacuum

Central observers of BJP hold meetings with alliance partners and party legislators

Panaji: Alliance partners of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Goa have demanded a permanent solution to the leadership crisis, following the deteriorating health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is being treated at AIIMS for advanced Pancreatitis-related ailments.

On Sunday, a BJP Central team, consisting of Ram Lal, national general secretary (organisation), B.L. Santosh, and Vijay Puranik, arrived in Goa and held a series of meetings with the allies and also the BJP legislators.

Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai told reporters before the meeting that he has the support of five MLAs and that all of them want an end to the crisis. “We do not seek a temporary arrangement. This is what we are going to tell them,” Mr. Sardesai, who is also the chief of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), said.

The six legislators are Mr. Sardesai, Fisheries Minister Vinod Palyekar, and Housing Minister Jayesh Salgaokar of the GFP, and three Independents comprising two ministers Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gaude, and Prasad Gaokar.

Representatives of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which has three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly, are expected to meet the BJP Central leaders later on Sunday evening.

A proposal to make senior MGP leader and Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar Deputy Chief Minister officiating as Chief Minister has been opposed by the GFP and an Independent MLA, Govind Gawde.

BJP MLAs who met the Central observers have reposed faith in Mr. Parrikar’s leadership, and have insisted that a new leader, if needed, come from the BJP.

“They should find somebody within the BJP, and Mr. Parrikar should continue as the CM till he is alive,” BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral told reporters after the meeting.

Meanwhile, minutes before three MGP MLAs led by Mr. Dhavlikar met the Central leaders, a senior MGP working committee member told The Hindu that the MGP is opposed to its merger with the BJP, and Mr. Parrikar should continue as the CM, but as the senior-most minister in the Cabinet, Mr. Dhavlikar should be given charge of CM by Mr. Parrikar, so that the functioning of the government does not suffer.

After the meeting with the BJP observers, Mr. Dhavlikar said the leadership issue is not important at this stage. “Mr. Parrikar is still working. What we requested the observers is that the iron ore mining be restarted soon. Mr. Parrikar will redistribute additional portfolios in the next three days.”

The BJP currently has 14 MLAs of which three are severely ill, thus making the support of allies critical to the survival of the government.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 1:49:07 PM |

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