BJP’s cen­tral lead­ers, in­clud­ing gen­eral sec­re­tary Ram Lal, in Goa to dis­cuss prob­a­ble op­tions

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: BJP is un­der pres­sure from its al­lies to ap­point a re­place­ment for Goa chief min­is­ter Manohar Parrikar, who was admit­ted to AIIMS here and is likely to go to the US again for treat­ment. The party will hold con­fab­u­la­tions with its MLAs to de­cide the fu­ture course of ac­tion.

BJP’s cen­tral ob­servers, in­clud­ing na­tional gen­eral sec­re­tary Ram Lal, were in Goa on Sun­day to dis­cuss prob­a­ble op­tions with the state BJP lead­er­ship, coali­tion part­ners Ma­ha­rash­trawadi Go­man­tak Party and Goa For­ward Party and the in­de­pen­dent MLAs back­ing the gov­ern­ment. BJP, which has 14 mem­bers in the 40-mem­ber Goa as­sem­bly, de­pends on the sup­port of MGP (3), GFP (3) and three In­de­pen­dents. The re­gional par­ties had sup­ported the BJP only on the con­di­tion that Parrikar be made the chief min­is­ter. In fact, MGP leader Ramkr­ishna Dhava­likar was op­posed to Laxmikant Parsekar, who was ap­pointed the CM in the pre­vi­ous as­sem­bly when Parrikar was the de­fence min­is­ter.

“It was Parrikar’s stature and charisma that made it pos­si­ble for us to be able to form the gov­ern­ment with just 13 MLAs. It is hard to find some­one within the BJP that can take ev­ery­body along, like

PARRIKAR’S STATURE

he could,” said a se­nior BJP leader.

There are re­ports that Dhava­likar, the se­nior-most MLA, fan­cies his chances of re­plac­ing Parrikar. How­ever, this is not ac­cept­able to BJP, sources said. Even, Vijai Sarde­sai of the GFP has made a pitch for the top post.

It is likely that Parrikar will con­tin­ueasCMbutBJPwill­make­some in­ter­i­mar­range­ment­torun­the­dayto-day af­fairs of the gov­ern­ment. With three and a half years to go for thep­re­sen­tassem­bly—Par­rikar­be­came CM on March 14, 2017 —fresh elec­tions are a dif­fi­cult, though not an im­pos­si­ble, propo­si­tion.

Party sources did not rule out im­po­si­tion of the Pres­i­dent’s Rule if the push comes to shove from the BJP’s al­lies. The Congress is the largest party with 16 MLAs and may try to win over the dis­grun­tled MLAs from the re­gional par­ties.

As­sem­bly elec­tions were held in Goa in Fe­bru­ary 2017. De­spite be­ing the largest party, the Congress did not move fast enough to get the re­gional par­ties on its side.

There is no BJP leader of the stature of Parrikar to re­place him in Goa. Sri­pad Naik, the AYUSH min­is­ter­inNaren­draModigov­ern­ment is not con­sid­ered se­nior enough to re­place Parrikar. More­over, he is not an MLA and BJP may not want to go for a by­elec­tion.

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