With allies and Opposition Congress turning up the heat on BJP over the issue of the Chief Minister’s post since Manohar Parrikar’s hospitalisation, party president Amit Shah held two meetings on Wednesday to work out a strategy to prevent a political crisis in Goa.
Parrikar, 62, was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi on Saturday.
On Wednesday morning, Shah had discussions with BJP general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal and national joint secretary B L Santosh, followed by another meeting of key party leaders involved with Goa in the afternoon.
Shah had earlier deputed Ram Lal and Santosh to reach out to allies to resolve the leadership crisis in the coastal state. The BJP, according to sources, has launched efforts to find a replacement for Parrikar after the Congress, the single largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly, staked claim to power.
Two main contenders for the CM from BJP — the party’s state unit president Vinay Tendulkar and Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik — were part of the meeting.
Another contender for the post is Pramod Sawant, Speaker of the Assembly who was chosen by Parrikar to hoist the flag on Independence Day in his absence, a move that ostensibly did not go down well with other party leaders.
While Naik, a senior Bahujan Samaj leader in the party and with a voter base different from Parrikar, is seen as a possible contender, insiders say Tendulkar could tip the race to top position in his favour.
While through the week, suggestion was made to make Sudin Dhavalikar of ally MGP as the new leader, it has been struck down after the core committee of BJP ruled it out, party sources said.
BJP leaders are learnt to have informed Ram Lal that they were not comfortable in handing over the entire leadership to an ally in a small state, especially since most portfolios are still with the CM. What is also likely to have gone against him is the strength of unity shown by the other ally, Goa Forward, and the three Independent MLAs on giving the CM’s post to an ally, sources said.
If either Tendulkar or Naik is named CM, at least one MLA will need to resign to make way for either of the leaders in a bypoll. While most MLAs are satisfied with Naik, he still has not got a go-ahead from Parrikar, who continues to have the final say, it is learnt.