BJP team meets Goa MLAs over leadership, no consensus yet

Panaji: The BJP central leadership’s attempts to form a consensus between party MLAs and alliance partners in Goa over alternate leadership due to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s illness remained inconclusive on Sunday.

Allocation of portfolios held by Parrikar could take place in the next few days, a ruling alliance Minister said.

Emerging out of a city hotel, where BJP’s General Secretary (organisation) Ram Lal and party observers B.L. Santosh and Vijay Puranik met MLAs from the BJP, allies Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward, and Independent MLAs for several hours, Lal said that he will address the media on Monday.

Earlier in the day, BJP MLAs emerged from their meetings with the BJP observers and supported continuation of Parrikar as CM ’till he is alive’. “Within the BJP, they should find somebody and Parrikar should remain the Chief Minister till he is alive,” BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral told reporters.

Parrikar is admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi for treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer.

MGP leaders, including Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar, insisted that no leadership issue was discussed by their representatives with BJP’s central leaders.

“What was discussed today was not about the government, but about the people of Goa. No leadership issued was discussed,” Dhavalikar said.

Till Saturday, MGP President Deepak Dhavalikar had insisted that administration was suffering on account of Parrikar’s repeated absence and a functional CM was necessary.

Dhavalikar on Sunday maintained that Parrikar was well and clearing files, so there was no question of giving any other person the chief ministerial charge.

However, Goa Forward President and Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai’s move to bunch together six MLAs — including himself and two other Goa Forward MLAs — and make a collective demand for a “permanent solution” caused discomfiture to the BJP’s central observers.

“We met the BJP central observers and impressed upon them to find a permanent solution to the leadership issue. Ad hocism is not an option. We asked them to take their time and not act in haste. We also told them to take the views of Parrikar and arrive at a decision,” Sardesai told reporters after meeting Ram Lal.

Sardesai on Saturday had rejected a proposal mooted by the MGP to appoint Dhavalikar the Deputy Chief Minister, who would officiate as Chief Minister in Parrikar’s absence.A

Asked if the BJP had discussed finding a permanent solution to the leadership issue with alliance leaders, Ram Lal responded with a firm “no.”

State BJP President Vinay Tendulkar said that “there is no question of change in leadership”.

Parrikar was shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi on Saturday.

The state BJP’s core committee is expected to meet on Monday to deliberate the issue in presence of the three observers.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 14 MLAs in the 40-member Assembly, of which three are severely ill. Support of allies is thus critical to the survival of the alliance government.

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