Goa Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Michael Lobo on Monday said the party had been unable to reach a consensus with its alliance partners in the state after the death of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, PTI reported. The former defence minister, 63, died on Sunday evening at his home after battling pancreatic cancer for over a year.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari had arrived in Panaji after midnight on Sunday to lead alliance talks. However, the discussions came to a halt after Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dhavalikar expressed interest in taking over the chief minister’s post, said Lobo.
The BJP has 13 seats, while its allies Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party have three seats each. The Nationalist Congress Party has one seat, while there are three independent legislators who support the BJP-led coalition. The Congress, with 14 MLAs, is the single-largest party in the Goa Assembly, which has 36 members and four vacancies at present.
“Dhavalikar wants himself to be the chief minister, while the BJP wants that the leader of the alliance should be from their camp,” Lobo told reporters after a night-long meeting. “We could not reach any decision.”
Lobo said BJP MLAs have suggested the names of Vishwajit Rane and Pramod Sawant for chief minister, adding that a solution to the political crisis is expected later on Monday.
Goa Forward Party President Vijai Sardesai also confirmed that the alliance partners were yet to reach a conclusion. “The BJP has informed them that they will get back later during the day,” he said, adding that the parties had expressed doubts about how to proceed in Parrikar’s absence. “We are expecting them [BJP] to respond to our apprehensions soon,” said Sardesai.
After the meeting, Dhavalikar said Gadkari held one-on-one meetings with the MLAs and asked them questions. “We are expecting Gadkari to announce the name of the chief minister candidate in the next one hour,” he said. “The MGP will take proper resolution supporting the government after that.”
Congress writes to Governor again
Meanwhile, the Congress on Sunday again wrote to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha to invite the party to form the government, the Hindustan Times reported.
“The coalition partners had allied with the BJP on condition that the government is headed by Manohar Parrikar who was the then Defence Minister of India,” said the letter signed by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar and Goa State President Girish Chodankar. “The BJP has no allies as of now.”
“The Congress, being the single largest party the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, is entitled to be invited to form the best government,” it added.
This was the second letter written by Congress members in less than 48 hours. The party has been demanding the dismissal of the BJP government since last year, when it was made public that Parrikar was being treated for pancreatic cancer.
Parrikar to be given state funeral
The central government has announced a day of national mourning, with Parrikar to be accorded a state funeral on Monday, ANI reported. Goa will observe a period of mourning for seven days, during which the national flag will fly at half-mast on all buildings across the state.
The Goa administration said that all state government offices, local-autonomous bodies, public sector undertakings, and educational institutions will remain closed on Monday as a mark of respect for Parrikar.
According to the Goa Chief Minister’s Office, Parrikar’s remains will be kept at the BJP head office in Panjim from 9.30 am. They will then be taken to the Kala Academy and kept there till 4 pm for the public to pay their tributes. His funeral will take place at 5 pm.