Panaji: The political situation in Goa has turned fluid with ailing chief minister Manohar Parrikar leaving for the US again for treatment on Wednesday.
This is Parrikar’s third US trip in the last five months for treatment of a pancreatic ailment, the nature of which has not been officially stated.
The opposition Congress, which has 16 legislators in the 40-member Goa assembly to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) 14, has demanded that a full-time chief minister be appointed immediately. Goa Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar alleged that there is a total breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state because of the chief minister’s prolonged absence and threatened a statewide stir if the governor did not intervene to appoint a full-time chief minister.
Goa BJP chief and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar ruled out any political instability or panic on account of Parrikar’s health and told Mint that Parrikar had already made arrangements for the running of day-to-day affairs of governance.
“The Congress is free to agitate but there is no breakdown of governance as Parrikar has already tasked senior minister Sudin Dhavalikar with day-to-day issues and taking care of the law and order situation. Also, there is no need to appoint a full-time chief minister because Parrikar is already performing that role. He has told us that he would be clearing files from the US," Tendulkar said.
BJP leaders led by Tendulkar met Parrikar at Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital on Wednesday before he left for the US. Parrikar told them that there was no need to make alternative arrangements to run the state in his absence and that he would be clearing files from the US as he did during the previous two phases of treatment.
Tendulkar said Parrikar was recovering well and had gone to the US only for follow-up treatment as he had developed some “digestive issues". “He would be back within a week," Tendulkar said.
Chodankar said that the constitutional machinery had failed in Goa and that there was no semblance of collective responsibility of ministers. “We once again appeal to the governor to intervene to have a full-time CM, if not she should withdraw her faith in the council of ministers and dismiss this government forthwith and restore the mandate of the people by inviting Congress party to form the government," Chodankar said.
Governance in Goa is in the “intensive care unit", Chodankar said and also referred to the ill-health of Dhavalikar and power minister Pandurang Madkaikar. While Dhavalikar underwent a surgery in July, Madkaikar is still in a Mumbai hospital following a brain stroke. In Madkaikar’s absence, Parrikar, who already holds five key portfolios including home and finance, has also assumed charge of the power ministry.
The BJP leads a coalition government in Goa with three legislators each from the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Paksha and Goa Forward. The opposition Congress which feels it was denied its rightful chance to form the government in March 2017 has since been waiting in the wings to go for the kill.