Goa Forward Party chief and state Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai claimed on Thursday that ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar wanted to resign, but the Bharatiya Janata Party high command did not allow him to do so. Parrikar, who has pancreatic cancer, has not made a single public appearance since his return to Goa after he was discharged from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on October 14.
“He [Parrikar] wanted to give up the chief minister’s post altogether,” Sardesai told reporters in Panaji, according to PTI. “He had even shown an inclination to give away his portfolios [to other ministers] when he was admitted to a hospital during Ganesh Chaturthi.”
“But then several things happened,” Sardesai added. “The BJP high command stepped in. It [resigning] is not entirely in his hands.”
The minister admitted that there was growing resentment among coalition partners over the paralysis in the Goa government due to Parrikar’s absence, The Times of India reported. “I have always been saying that there is some sort of an impact on the administration due to the chief minister’s ill-health,” he said. “There is resentment among all cabinet colleagues, but we have to carry on.”
Over 100 protestors, including activists, residents and Congress supporters, marched to Parrikar’s residence in Panaji’s Dona Paula on Tuesday evening demanding his resignation. The Goa BJP criticised the move, pointing out that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was also ill while in office.
Asked about BJP ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s decision to approach the Bombay High Court against two Congress MLAs joining the BJP, Sardesai said he was surprised. “I can believe it is a preemptive move,” he added. “They [Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party] have not lost anything, Congress has lost two MLAs.”