As Manohar Parrikar's Health Deteriorates, BJP Begins Search For New CM Candidate in Goa
File image of Ailing Goa CM Manohar Parrikar. (Photo Credits: IANS)

Panaji, March 17: As the health condition of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has deteriorated, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun its search for a new CM candidate. Senior BJP leaders are likely to arrive in Goa later today to consult the MLAs to finalise its chief ministerial candidate in case of any tragic news. The BJP leaders may hold meetings with the coalition partners — Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Forward Party and three independents.

The news of Manohar Parrikar’s health condition having worsened triggered hectic political activities across parties in Goa on Saturday. MLAs and core committee members of Goa BJP met to discuss the political situation arising out of the health condition of Parrikar. The health of Parrikar, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment, had deteriorated earlier in the day. Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral asserted that the meet did not deliberate on the leadership change issue.

"The CM is there and he is strong. So there is no reason to discuss leadership change," the BJP MLA said. However, according to a report of TOI, the BJP legislators told party leaders that the CM should be from among the MLAs. Six MLAs, allies in the BJP-led Goa government, had met Parrikar earlier in the day and extended support to him. One of them, Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai had told reporters "the CM's health has deteriorated, but he is stable".

Congress has staked claim to form the government in the coastal state. In a letter addressed to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said that the Parrikar-led coalition government is in a minority and its numbers may "dwindle". "Consequent upon the sad demise of Francis D'Souza, MLA, who belonged to the BJP, it is humbly submitted that the incumbent BJP-led state government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, which has long lost the trust of the people and now also lost strength in the House," Kavlekar said in the letter.

"Also, we anticipate that numbers of the BJP may further dwindle," he wrote to the Governor requesting that such minority government be not allowed to continue even for a moment. "It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to dismiss the state government led by the BJP to ensure that the Indian National Congress, which is the single-largest party in the august House and is presently enjoying the majority, be called to form government," Kavlekar said.

The strength of the Goa Assembly has reduced from 40 to 37 after the death of BJP lawmaker and resignation of two MLAs -Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte. Currently, the Congress party has 14 MLAs, while the BJP has 13 MLAs. Parrikar was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in February 2018 and has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York since then.