Amid reports that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's health had worsened, the Congress on Saturday staked claim, asking Governor Mridula Sinha to "dismiss" the BJP-led government which it said was in a minority. The party also said it "anticipates that numbers of the BJP may further dwindle".
"Consequent upon the sad demise of Francis D'Souza, MLA, who belonged to the BJP, 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," Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said in a letter to the Governor.
"It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to dismiss the state government led by the BJP to ensure that the Indian National Congress, which is the single-largest party in the august House and is presently enjoying the majority, be called to form government," he said.
The Congress has 14 lawmakers in the 40-member assembly. The BJP has 13 lawmakers. It is backed by three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party and MGP, an Independent, and the only NCP legislator in the state. Three seats in the assembly are currently lying vacant.
The state unit of the BJP, which met on Saturday, said it discussed the Chief Minister's health but remained firm in its position that Manohar Parrikar continued 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's allies have also rallied around the Chief Minister. "The Chief Minister's health has deteriorated, but he is stable... The Chief Minister's Office has said he is stable, so we will take it that he is stable... We have been with Parrikar unequivocally, we are with him now as a Chief Minister," Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai said after visiting Manohar Parrikar at his home on Saturday.
Manohar Parrikar, 63, was diagnosed with a pancreatic ailment in February last year. The Chief Minister who has said that he is "battling a life-threatening disease" returned to work in December after months of stay in hospitals in the US, Mumbai, Goa and Delhi. 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)