Wading into the political situation in Goa, triggered by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s hospitalisation and the demand by BJP’s ally MGP that he hand over charge to the most senior minister, the Congress Monday urged the Governor not to dissolve the House and give it a chance to form the government. Congress leaders claimed that some of the parties supporting the BJP have been in touch with them.
The Congress’s move came even as observers sent by the central BJP held closed-door discussions with party MLAs, former legislators and core committee members. After the meeting, senior BJP leader Ram Lal said the BJP-led government is stable and no demand has been made for a change in leadership.
AICC in-charge of Goa A Chella Kumar said the Congress, in a memorandum to the Governor, demanded that the assembly not be dissolved at any cost.
“Whoever is the alliance partner of the BJP… they had given support only to Manohar Parrikar. When he is not in a position to discharge his duties, our demand is that send out this government and call us. We are the single largest party,” Chella Kumar told The Indian Express.
Asked whether the Congress has the numbers, he said “many (MLAs) are in touch with us”. He said “anything can happen… things are moving positively. Let’s see.”
The Congress delegation, comprising all 16 MLAs of the party led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, could not meet Governor Mridula Sinha as she was out of the state. They left a memorandum at the Governor’s House.
The Congress is the single largest party with 16 MLAs while the BJP has 14 MLAs. The BJP has the support of MGP, Goa Forward Party, three Independents and an MLA from the Nationalist Congress Party.
The MGP, one of the constituents of the BJP-led government which had demanded that Parrikar hand over charge to the most senior minister for smooth functioning of the government, said the solution which the BJP will find should be in sync with what the allies have been requesting.
“This is a coalition government but the decision has to be taken by the BJP since it is the largest party in the state government. We are waiting for a common solution on the current situation, which the BJP will give us,” MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar was quoted saying by PTI.
Dhavalikar said his party had not given any specific proposal to the BJP on change of leadership. “Yes, we have told them (the BJP) if they are considering it (change in leadership), then charge should be given to the senior-most minister. Our demand continues to stand,” he said. His elder brother, Sudin Dhavalikar, the Public Works Department minister, is the most senior member in the Goa cabinet.
The MGP’s demand has not enthused other allies. State Agriculture Minister and chief of the Goa Forward Party Vijai Sardesai has already stated that “everything that MGP wants need not happen” as decisions are taken collectively in a coalition government. Both the MGP and Goa Forward Party have three MLAs each in the 40-member Assembly.
Ramlal said the Goa Forward Party, MGP and Independents have conveyed that they will agree to any political decision taken by the BJP.
Kavlekar said the Congress will prove majority on the floor of the House if it is given a chance to form the government. Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah visited Parrikar at the AIIMS in New Delhi where he was admitted last Saturday.