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Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Goa Congress stakes claim to form government

The move came a day after BJP ruled out any leadership change in Goa and said that an ailing Manohar Parrikar would continue to lead the state as the chief minister

Mumbai/New Delhi: With Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, senior Congress leaders on Monday reached out to state legislators, including those of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and staked claim to form the government.

The Congress held a meeting of its legislative party and submitted a memorandum to the office of Governor Mridula Sinha, who is travelling and is expected to return on Tuesday.

“Manohar Parrikar has lost the moral right to continue in office and the governor should dismiss this government and invite the Congress to form the government. The Assembly must not be dissolved, which would mean imposing another election on the people within 18 months, when we all have been elected for five years," the memorandum said.

The Congress, which is the single largest party with 16 legislators in the 40-member Assembly, smelt an opportunity to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in the state, following the political uncertainties triggered by Parrikar’s prolonged illness. The chief minister was admitted to AIIMS on Saturday.

“We are in touch with alliance partners of the NDA. Talks are on. Our key concern is to ensure that the Assembly is not dissolved. We are the single largest party in the state and we must get a chance to form the government if we are confident of our numbers," A. Chella Kumar, the Goa in-charge of the Congress, told Mint.

The BJP has 14 members in the Assembly, while its allies, the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party, have three each. There are three independents and one legislator from the Nationalist Congress Party.

“There is no government whatsoever in Goa. We are the single-largest party and were wrongfully denied the chance to form the government in 2017. We are staking claim again as we have the numbers," Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar said.

The BJP central team, which was in Goa to take stock of the situation, returned on Monday and is expected to submit its report to party president Amit Shah. The three-member team held a series of meetings with core committee members of the state unit and all BJP leaders, besides its alliance partners. Party general secretary Ram Lal, who was part of the team, said that the allies were with the BJP.

Asked about the Congress bid to form the government in Goa, Lal said there was no threat to the BJP-led government and asked the Congress to stop day-dreaming.

“All the allies have told us that they are with the BJP. No one from the allies or from the BJP demanded a change in the leadership in Goa and the government is stable," Lal said.

A BJP core committee member, however, said the crisis in Goa was far more serious than the central team conceded.

“The problem with the central team is that they have very little understanding of Goa’s peculiar political and social realities. After Parrikar, we do not have a leader either in the BJP or among our allies. The social and secular political coalition that Parrikar built is impossible to achieve for any other leader that we have at this stage," said the person mentioned above.


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