BJP looks for a successor to Parrikar as Congress stakes claim to form government
In the 40-member Goa assembly, the opposition Congress is the single-largest party though the ruling BJP has the support of two smaller parties and three independent MLAs
Mumbai: Goa, known for its long history of political instability, was pushed into another phase of uncertainty with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having to find a successor to chief minister Manohar Parrikar who died on Sunday evening.
Political manoeuvring has already started in the state with senior BJP leaders reaching out to some disgruntled Congress MLAs. BJP members say that the state government is in a stable position and there is no immediate threat. The central BJP leadership is deliberating on who could be the successor.
In the 40-member Goa assembly, the opposition Congress is the single-largest party though the ruling BJP has the support of two smaller parties and three independent MLAs.
Sandesh Sadhale, spokesperson for Goa BJP, said in a phone interview that a “series of meetings are on to select a successor to Parrikar and consultations may go on for one or two days."
What added to the air of uncertainty was BJP Goa president Vinay Tendulkar’s statement that four Congress legislators “are in touch with BJP". “Congress is going to suffer a big blow in Goa," Tendulkar told reporters in Panaji on Sunday. Another BJP leader, who declined to be identified, said that senior Congress leader and former CM Digambar Kamat has “airdashed to Delhi on Sunday to meet the BJP top brass and possibly join the party to become the chief minister".
Kamat, however, rubbished the speculation on Sunday evening saying his “Delhi visit was pre-planned and had nothing to do with politics". The BJP legislator who speculated about Kamat joining the party said the BJP in Goa was finding it “extremely difficult to find a suitable and senior successor to Parrikar and Kamat was being considered also because he has the support of BJP allies".
The BJP legislators went into a huddle on Saturday evening itself after the Congress submitted a letter to Goa governor Mridula Sinha asking her to dismiss the BJP-led government and invite the Congress. Later on Saturday, the Congress dashed off another letter to the governor seeking an appointment to stake a claim. In the letters, the Congress had said the BJP-led coalition has lost majority in the legislature after the demise of senior BJP legislator Francis D’souza last month reduced the BJP’s strength to 13 in the 40-member Goa assembly.
Congress leader of legislative party Chandrakant Kavlekar cautioned the governor against imposing President’s rule in Goa, adding that it would legally challenge such a decision. An official at the Governor’s office on Sunday said that no appointment has been given to the Congress.
Gyan Varma from New Delhi contributed to this story.