Panaji: Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who arrived in Panaji late on Sunday night following the death of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, met with leaders of alliance partners of the state’s coalition government to discuss leadership issue.
“We discussed on the broad contours of the alliance government in the future. We are in the process of finalising and nothing has been confirmed yet. We have given our options and asked them to revert,” said Goa Forward Party chief and state minister Vijai Sardesai after meeting with Gadkari. “We have also discussed who should be delegated what and how to work with the alliance in future,” Sardesai who earlier on Sunday said his party had lent support to Parrikar and not the BJP, adding that now “options are open” for them.
Meanwhile, Sudin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) said after the meeting: “They will decide in one hour after discussions with MLAs. I’m going to the executive committee of my party. I will ask them to have a resolution. After one hour, we will know who is the candidate.” After Parrikar’s demise that was announced on Sunday, Sardesai said the “options are open” for Goa Forward Party.
“Now that he is no more, options are open. We want stability in Goa and we don’t want the dissolution of the House. We will wait for the decision at the BJP legislature meeting and the next step will be taken accordingly,” Sardesai remarked. Late on Sunday night, Gadkari and BJP’s General Secretary BL Satosh met with BJP MLAs and MLAs from alliance parties.
The meeting which continued into the early hours of Monday saw participation by MGP leaders Sudin Dhavalikar and Babu Ajgaonkar, Goa Forward Party (GFP) Chief Vijai Sardesai with party MLAs Vinod Palyekar and Jayesh Salgaonkar along with two independent MLAs Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gaude.
Earlier on Sunday, Deputy Speaker BJP MLA Michael Lobo told ANI: “The government has to be in place by morning tomorrow. Swearing in will be tomorrow morning.” Responding to if alliance partners will remain in support of the BJP, Lobo said: “They will stay in support of the BJP and the name for the Chief Minister post will be decided by Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari.” Earlier, Goa Congress leaders G Chodankar and C Kavlekar wrote to Goa Governor staking claim to form the government in the state. “Now, in view of Mr Parrikar’s death, BJP has no allies,” the letter read.
It said that it was up to the Governor to ensure “smooth transition and transfer of power”.”Congress being the single largest party, it is submitted that the leader of the Congress party is entitled to be invited to form the next government. We, therefore, hereby once again stake our claim to form the government and request Your Excellency to extend the invitation to our leader to form the next government,” the letter stated.
Parrikar headed a coalition of BJP, Goa Forward Party and Independents. The present strength of the Goa Assembly stands at 37 instead of 40. The Congress has 14 lawmakers and BJP has 13 lawmakers. Three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party and MGP, an Independent, and one NCP legislator fill the remaining seats of the Goa Assembly whose strength was truncated after the death of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza and the resignation of two MLAs — Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte.