Goa Congress leaders met with Governor Mridula Sinha
Panaji, Goa: As the nation mourned Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's death, the ruling BJP struggled on Monday to stabilize its coalition government in the seaside state, with a narrow majority along with two allies and independent members. In the race to find Manohar Parrikar's successor, the BJP's Pramod Sawant seemed to have an edge but allies Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP) have rejected him, sources have told NDTV. The Congress's 14 lawmakers are at the Governor's house to press for an invite to form government.
Here are the top 10 points
- Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who arrived in Goa soon after Manohar Parrikar's death, held meetings with allies that ended at 5.30 am. When the BJP suggested the name of Pramod Sawant, the assembly Speaker, allies said they would rather have the assembly in suspended animation until there's a solution acceptable to all.
- The two allies reportedly said they were ready to accept another BJP leader, Vinay Tendulkar, as Chief Minister. BJP is yet to decide. Nine lawmakers - three each of the GFP (Goa Forward Party), MGP (Mahatashtrawadi Gomantak Party) and independents have been at Goa Forward chief Vijay Sardesai's home since the meeting with Nitin Gadkari.
- The BJP-led coalition government has a majority in the 40-member Goa assembly with its allies after the death of lawmaker Francis D'Souza and the resignation of two Congress lawmakers. The ruling coalition has 21 members -- 12 BJP and the rest allies and independents -- while the Congress has 15; four seats are vacant.
- In the 2017 Goa polls, when the Congress emerged as the largest party in a hung verdict, it was Nitin Gadkari who had negotiated alliances to establish a BJP-led coalition with Manohar Parrikar - then Union Defence Minister -- as chief minister.
- Manohar Parrikar, the BJP's tallest leader in Goa, was the party's most acceptable face for allies like the MGP and Goa Forward Party. A popular Goan politician, Manohar Parrikar kept the fractious coalition running, even making public appearances with a nasal tube and supported by aides at the peak of his battle with pancreatic cancer.
- As reports of the Chief Minister's critical state emerged last evening, the BJP gathered all its lawmakers and prepped for tense days.
- In the late night meeting of the BJP and its allies, the MGP's Sudin Dhavalikar insisted on the chief minister's post, according to BJP lawmaker Michael Lobo.
- Goa Forward Party chief and state minister Vijay Sardesai also sees himself as a candidate for the top job. Of the two allies, he is seen to be more open to the idea of merging his party with the BJP for the chief minister's post. "We discussed the broad contours of the alliance government in future. We are in the process of finalising and nothing has been confirmed yet. We have given our options and asked them to revert," Mr Sardesai said after meeting Nitin Gadkari. The "options are open" now, he remarked.
- As the BJP struggled to keep its flock together, the Goa Congress wrote to Governor Mridula Sinha for the second time in 48 hours, staking claim to form government in a letter that began with condolences. "Now, after Mr Parrikar's death, BJP has no allies," the Congress wrote in its letter that urged the Governor to ensure smooth transition and transfer of power.
- The Congress's Digambar Kamat, a former chief minister, has been in the middle of a buzz after his sudden trip to Delhi amid reports that he was being pursued by the BJP. He denied that he was in Delhi to meet the BJP leadership. "My programme in Delhi was finalised 2-3 days ago, there was no question of meeting anybody. I don't have any offers from BJP, these stories were planted by vested interests. I'm not bothered about the leadership or the Chief Minister's post," Mr Kamat told news agency ANI
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