As the BJP struggles to come up with solutions for keeping its government in Goa stable in the absence of CM Manohar Parrikar, the state Congress has once again requested the governor to allow the party a chance to prove its strength in the legislature.
However, while Congress leaders are confident of cobbling up the numbers if given an opportunity, BJP’s allies have given the party leadership a chance to come up with a solution for the current crisis.
The three Independents and the three Goa Forward Party (GFP) legislators backing the BJP-led government have formed a front and met BJP’s central observers together.
CM Parrikar, on whom Goa’s coalition hinges, has been battling pancreatic cancer and has been in and out of the state since February. He was shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi Saturday and is said to have conveyed his inability to function as CM to the BJP central leadership.
BJP’s central observers Sunday held talks with party MLAs, Independent legislators supporting the government, as well as allies Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and GFP in Goa.
Sources said most allies pushed for a permanent solution, saying they were not in favour of the government being dissolved.
Also read: With Manohar Parrikar indisposed, BJP concerned about ‘go Goa gone’
Over-reliance on Parrikar But the BJP does not seem to have many alternatives before it that will appeal to all allies equally and keep the government afloat. There is an over-reliance on Parrikar, who has been the only rallying point for the BJP to be able to cobble together an alliance of diverse political outfits and stake claim to govern Goa, despite the Congress winning the highest number of seats in the 2017 assembly polls.
If Parrikar is out of the equation, the fragile coalition faces the threat of crumbling.
Even in his delicate medical condition, the CM has been expected to clear files, hold meetings and even remotely run the state through email and teleconference every time he has been out of Goa for medical treatment.
“The central leadership will ultimately take a call. For now, the consensus seems to be that we do need some stand-by for Parrikar,” said BJP MLA Michael Lobo.
Congress’ attempts at staking claim to form govt The Congress, which has 16 MLAs in the 40-member assembly, wrote to Goa governor Mridula Sinha Monday, requesting her to not dissolve the Goa assembly, but invite the Congress as the single-largest party to form government.
Since February, this is the fourth time that the Congress has made this request to the governor and is scheduled to meet Sinha Tuesday evening.
The BJP has 13 legislators, and has formed the government with the support of MLAs from the MGP, GFP and Independents.
“We hope that this time the gravity of the situation is taken into account and we are allowed to form the government. Goa has been in a state of flux for more than six months now and governance has suffered,” said Congress’ Chandrakant Kavlekar, the leader of the opposition.
Also read: Manohar Parrikar in Delhi’s AIIMS, BJP-led govt in Goa under threat
“We cooperated with the government until now with a humanitarian approach, understanding that the CM is not keeping well, but the state cannot continue to suffer this way,” he said.
Kavlekar said the Congress is confident of being able to prove its majority in the House. He, however, refused to divulge details on who the party is in talks with.
Independents and some allies form a front BJP leaders Ram Lal, Vinay Puranik and B.L. Santosh met BJP legislators, MLAs from the MGP, GFP and Independents in Panjim Sunday, assuring to convey their concerns to the central leadership and bring some solution to the table.
The three Independents and three GFP legislators backing the BJP-led government have formed a front — ‘the G-6 group’ — and met BJP’s central observers together.
“We have emphasised that we don’t want a stop-gap solution or a caretaker and a temporary CM…As the G-6, we want the BJP to come up with a permanent solution in consultation with CM Parrikar,” Govind Gaude, an Independent legislator and a minister in the Parrikar cabinet, told ThePrint.
He said if the BJP fails to come up with alternatives that are amenable to them, they will put forth their own suggestions.
“We have clarified to them that we are not in favour of dissolution of the current government. People have elected us and we want to respect that,” Gaude said.
Sources said the MGP is in favour of giving Sudin Dhavalikar, the senior most minister in the government after Parrikar, the top post. Dhavalikar’s elevation, however, is unlikely to go down well with the BJP’s other allies.
Dhavalikar, however, ruled out any change of guard saying that Parrikar has been functioning well as CM despite being in the hospital.
“Even now, he has been clearing files and coordinating with us. The Tamil Nadu government functioned when CM Jayalalithaa was in the hospital… Nobody asked any questions then,” he said. >