New Delhi: Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar (62), who completed four weeks in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), on Friday, spoke to the state BJP leaders and allies from his hospital bed on the portfolios, including mining and education, that he wants to shed among 11 ministers in his Cabinet, possibly after Dussehra on October 19.
He first held discussions with the state BJP core committee handling government affairs in his absence and then had separate meetings with the ministers of two allies – Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the independents. He reportedly told them to revert back to them after consulting BJP President Amit Shah on the exact timing of the portfolio reshuffle.
In a related development, Goa PWD Minister Ramakrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar of MGP, who came here on Parrikar’s call, quietly visited the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here amid fears in his party that the chief minister is plotting to dissolve the Assembly early next month to prevent any coup by the Congress and pave way for elections along with the Lok Sabha polls.
The development shows Goa may plunge into a political uncertainty that the BJP wanted to avoid by keeping Parrikar in the saddle as a magnate to the allies to keep the party otherwise in minority in the 40-member Assembly with just 14 MLAs, three of whom are in hospitals.
The Congress has been already working on the BJP’s allies and independents and it even petitioned the Goa governor for a trial of strength by calling an Assembly session. Its leaders say any threat of the Assembly dissolution will work in their favour as nobody wants early elections as the present House was elected only in February last year.
Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai, however, said after meeting him that “he will allot additional portfolios after Dussehra which falls on October 19, while keeping the key portfolios with himself as it is his prerogative.”