New Delhi: Soon after the Congress staked claim to form the government in Goa on Saturday, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for a meeting of its MLAs at its Panaji office.

Later, BJP MLA and deputy Speaker of Goa Assembly Michael Lobo claimed that Manohar Parrikar was recovering and only he will remain the Goa Chief Minister. “Till Parrikar is here, only he’ll remain the Chief Minister and no one has made the demand to replace him,” he said.

He, however, added that if anything were to happen to Parrikar, a new chief minister will be appointed but it will be from BJP itself. Lobo said, “An emergency meeting was held as Parrikarji got really ill last night. Doctors are seeing him and not saying that he’ll recover. By-polls are also near in three constituencies and the meeting was also to finalise the candidature. However, there would be no leadership change in the state. We’re praying that he gets well, but there are no chances, he is very ill. But if anything happens to him, a new CM will be appointed from the BJP.”

Not just Manohar Parrikar’s failing health, the Congress’ letter to the Governor was necessitated by the recent demise of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza following which, the BJP had lost majority in the House.

In the letter to Governor Mridula Sinha, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar claimed that the coalition government led by Manohar Parrikar was reduce to minority and the BJP’s numbers may “dwindle” further, and demanded that she should invite the Congress, the single largest party in the Assembly to form a government.

Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar wrote a letter to Governor Mridula Sinha asking her to dismiss the BJP-led government which was in minority and call the “single-largest party Congress to form the government”. The leader of the Opposition further said the Congress anticipates that numbers of the BJP may dwindle due to its ailing leader.

The letter also stated a warning that any attempt to bring Goa under President’s rule would be illegal and will be challenged by the party. Kavlekar also said, “incumbent BJP-led state government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, which has long lost the trust of the people, has also lost the strength in the House.”

Meanwhile, Goa Chief Minister’s office reached out to the public and dispelled reports of his ill-health,  claiming that Parrikar remained stable. “With respect to some reports in media, it is hereby stated that Hon’ble Chief Minister @manoharparrikar’s health parameters continue to remain stable,” it said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

However, Parrikar is expected to stay away from electioneering for Lok Sabha elections this year owing to his health.

Notably, in October 2018, the Congress had staked claim to form the government and had called for a floor test but its request was ignored by the Governor.

The Congress became the single largest party in the state following BJP MLA Francis D’Souza’s demise earlier this year. It had lost to the saffron party when, after the 2017 elections, three MLAs resigned and joined BJP, following which the government was formed with Parrikar as the CM. It must be noted that apart from Parrikar, another BJP MLA Pandurang Madkaikar has been keeping unwell since he suffered a stroke in June last year.

The BJP has 12 MLAs, excluding Parrikar and Madkaikar, and also enjoys the support of three each from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Goa Forward Party and three Independents. Meanwhile, Congress has 14 MLAs.

Parrikar’s Health Update :

Manohar Parrikar is suffering from pancreatic cancer and has been recuperating at his residence at Dona Paula near Panaji since October 14, 2018. He had flown to New Delhi for a regular health check-up at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) last month. He had also gone for a check-up on March 3 at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and later was discharged. Last month too, Parrikar had undergone an operation at the GMCH.