At 4:40 am — as the police spread their perimeter across Panjim to facilitate the final journey of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, a different scene kept emerging at hotel Cida De Goa where BJP leaders and allies continued to be in a deadlock, with no decision arrived at till early hours of the day. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari walked in at midnight — beginning talks with each ally and BJP MLA. All MLAs continued to stress they were not open to allow Governor to call for suspended animation of the assembly.
The first round— there will be more— ended early hours of morning around 5 am, with every MLA emerging out after having expressed their options to Gadkari and party observer BL Santosh.
While not everyone disclosed the details of the meeting inside, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo told the waiting press that Maharashtra Gomantak Party leader Sudin Dhavlikar had expressed his wish to become the next chief minister of Goa. “He said he has sacrificed many times by supporting the BJP. So he wants to become the chief minister, but BJP will not agree to that. That has to be worked out,” added Lobo. From BJP’s side — the MLAs are looking at two candidates — Speaker Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane. While Sawant is known to be from the cadre and having seen as someone who had “ear of the chief minister”, and someone who was groomed by Parrikar himself, Rane is winning round one, after reports emerged that he has the support of Goa Forward and independent MLAs.
Mauvin Godinho, another BJP MLA and a recent import from Congress said, issues remained to be resolved. “We can solve them, any discussion and that is why discussion need not necessarily end in a few hours. Sometimes it takes longer,” he said adding a decision should be arrived finally late in the evening on Monday. Most of the MLAs who emerged said the first priority of the party was to give a “decent state funeral” to Manohar Parrikar before they sat for the next round of talks. Shripad Naik, another CM hopeful also emerged saying, “nothing is finalised. Discussions are on.”
Vinay Tendulkar, state party president — also a CM hopeful — said: “Decision will happen today morning. We will be giving a letter to the Governor. We do not have CM (Manohar Parrikar). We will have to visit his mortal remains. Then his body will be taken to party office and then a decision will be taken. There is no problem about chief ministership. Other problems will be resolved by 10 am. We will go to governor after body is brought to BJP office,” he stressed before leaving to oversee preparations at the BJP headquarters where Parrikar’s journey is supposed to cross the party headquarters, the arcade in the middle of the capital where he worked tirelessly on afternoons and nights when he was in opposition and from where he oversaw election preparedness of the party. Sudin Dhavlikar, MGP leader emerged from the meeting only to go to another executive meeting of the MGP party. He said Gadkari asked him several questions which are “confidential” in nature. The party is expected to get a call from BJP, after which a few decisions will be made.
Vijay Sardesai who staged the “solidarity walk” again with two independent MLAs and his party MLAs said the decision was taking time as “shoes of parrikar were too large and not easy to fill”. He added, “We are in the process of finalising. Nothing is confirmed yet. The contours of this alliance government in future is what we have discussed. We have also discussed who should be delegated what and how to work the alliance in future,” added Sardesai.
At the Congress end, situation had picked up a little with the party claiming support of Churchill Alemao and an independent Prasad Gaonkar. But somewhere in the middle of the night Gaonlar was seen escorted to Cida De Goa by another ex minister and Sardesai’s friend Babush Monseratte who claimed it was just a “fantastic coincidence” that he was walking with Gaonkar that hour. “I am just returning after seeing a match and I am walking in here. Dnt calculate,” said Monserrate before escorting Gaonkar to the BJP meet.
Till 6 am, there was no clarity with everyone waiting to hear from the other side. At Miramar meanwhile the beach bed was being cleared by the state government for the final rites pf Parrikar scheduled at 5 pm.
“Let’s continue the talks after he goes” said Vinay Tendulkar, “that should be the only priority for the day.” Everyone left the hotel at 6 am — leaving Gadkari alone in his chamber.