A key ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa has said that the government in the state should continue "with or without" the ailing Manohar Parrikar as the chief minister.
The Goa Forward Party (GFP) president and Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said BJP chief Amit Shah called him Sunday afternoon to discuss the political situation in Goa.
"Amit Shah spoke to me and I have said no to mid-term polls. With or without Manohar Parrikar as the chief minister, this government should continue," Mr Sardesai said.
Mr Sardesai said the BJP had given a commitment when the coalition was formed in Goa after assembly polls in March 2017, that the government headed by Mr Parrikar would continue for five years.
"We also want the same," the GFP leader said. "In the wake of our commitment to this government, the onus is on the BJP high command to fulfill their commitment and see that the government completes its tenure," he said.
In the 40-member Goa Assembly, the Parrikar government has the support of 23 MLAs. These comprise 14 BJP MLAs, three each from the GFP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) as well as three Independents.
"If they (BJP) want, they can go for dissolution but not going for dissolution (of the Assembly) will prove they keep their word. The people of Goa are watching them," Mr Sardesai added.
The remarks come on the same day the BJP legislature party meeting was held in Panaji without Mr Parrikar. After the meeting, state unit president Vinay Tendulkar had ruled out change of leadership.
Independent MLA and civil supplies minister Govind Gawade, who is supporting the Parrikar-led coalition, said the chief minister should have stayed back at AIIMS for some more time and fully recovered before returning to Goa.
"But we welcome him back. Goa was missing its leader," he added.
Mr Parrikar reached Goa on Sunday night after being discharged from Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he was admitted for a pancreatic ailment since September 15.
The 62-year-old leader is now undergoing treatment at his private residence at Dona Paula, where a team of doctors from the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital have set up make-shift medical facility.
The Congress today petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind today, urging him to ensure that the state Assembly is not dissolved by "foul play".
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar referred to the opposition party's earlier pleas to Governor Mridula Sinha about staking claim to form government in the state.