Senior Congress leader Digambar Kamat is likely to join the BJP.
Panaji: The BJP has rushed two observers to Goa and asked all its lawmakers to remain in the state amid concerns over the health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and a Congress bid to seize power. Reports that senior Congress leader Digambar Kamat may join the BJP added to the political churn. Mr Kamat has dismissed the reports. The BJP and its allies have majority in the 40-seat assembly, which currently has 37 members. The Congress has 14 lawmakers against the BJP's 13. Claiming to be the single largest party, the Congress has asked Governor Mridula Sinha for an invitation to form the new government.
Here are the latest developments in this big story:
- The BJP has 13 lawmakers in the 40-member assembly. It is backed by three lawmakers each of the Goa Forward Party and MGP, an Independent, and the only NCP legislator in the state. The halfway mark in the assembly currently stands at 19.The numbers in the assembly dropped from 40 to 37 after two Congress members joined the BJP and gave up their seats and BJP lawmaker Francis D'Souza died.
- The BJP's central leadership has sent two observers to Goa as it does not want to face any situation in the middle of general election in the country.
- Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat dismissed reports that he was joining the BJP if the ruling party decides to look for a leader to replace Manohar Parrikar. "Joining the BJP is political suicide," said Mr Kamat, who is currently in Delhi.
- The BJP state unit says it stands by its decision that Manohar Parrikar continues to be their leader. "The Chief Minister is there and he is strong. So there is no reason to discuss leadership change," Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral said. The BJP has the support of its allies in the matter.
- Mr Parrikar's worsening health over the last year subjected the BJP to attacks from the Congress. The opposition party repeatedly questioned whether Mr Parrikar's ability to continue work.
- Former BJP Minister Dayanand Mandrekar said there was a need to name a new Chief Minister in view of Manohar Parrikar's health. "You need a Chief Minister to run the state and take decisions," he said.
- In a letter to the Governor yesterday, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said, "It is humbly submitted that the incumbent BJP-led state government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, which has long lost the trust of the people and now also lost strength in the House".
- The BJP observers will also plan a strategy for the upcoming bypolls in three constituencies and Lok Sabha election in North and South Goa. The party's election committee is currently meeting in Panaji.
- Manohar Parrikar, 63, was diagnosed with a pancreatic ailment in February last year. Admitting that he was battling a "life-threatening disease", he returned to work in December after being in and out of hospitals across Mumbai, Goa, Delhi and the US.
- His public appearances with a tube in his nose drew severe criticism from the opposition, which accused the BJP of retaining the Chief Minister against his will and even parading him in his condition to avoid its government falling.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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