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