In probably the first official admission by a BJP leader, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Saturday said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is suffering from pancreatic cancer and is being nursed at home.
“He is chief Minister of Goa, and the fact is he is not well — he has got pancreatic cancer. There is no hiding this fact,” Rane said.
Answering media questions at an event in Aldonha, north Goa, Rane said, “…Let him be peaceful with his family. He has that much right after serving the people of Goa – if he wants to spend some quality time with his family, nobody has the business to ask. It is a question for his family to declare it. Not me.”
Addressing the media later in the day, state Congress president Girish Chodankar said Rane’s statement on Parrikar’s health should be taken as the BJP’s official version. “Our issue is not what he is suffering (from) at this stage, (or) what his health condition is. Our issue is whether he is taking the decisions. Whether he is signing the papers,” he said.
The Congress has been claiming that Parrikar’s failing health is affecting governance in Goa, and the party had, earlier this week, announced seeking court’s intervention to probe his health status.
On the main opposition party’s demands for an update on Parrikar’s health status, Rane said, “The Congress has no issue and is thus constantly politicising and playing politics with his health.”
He said the Chief Minister’s “absence” has not obstructed any administrative work. “I have not found it (affecting work). I have been inaugurating new projects and starting new projects.so let’s leave him (at peace). I spoke to him even yesterday.”
Given Parrikar’s failing health, even BJP leaders are learnt to have started looking for an alternative leadership, while NDA allies have warned the ruling party to look for an alternative within a month.
Former Goa RSS leader Subash Velingkar had recently said at a public event that the state administration is no longer being run by the Chief Minister’s Office but by a coterie around him.