New Delhi: With Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s demise on Sunday evening, the BJP and its allies in the coastal state are in a huddle to deliberate over the next chief minister.

Although the hectic parlays over the right candidate have not reached any conclusion yet, sources say that BJP’S Pramod Sawant might be the forerunner for the coveted post.

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Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who reached Goa at 1 am in a bid to cobble together a new coalition government, is still believed to be holding talks with the BJP legislators, along with the lawmakers from alliance parties namely Goa Forward, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three independent MLAs.

It was Gadkari himself who swooped in to help negotiate an alliance led by the BJP, back in 2017 when the Assembly elections threw a hung verdict in Goa. The Union minister for Roads, Transport and Highways was instrumental in Parrikar’s transition from then defence minister to the chief minister of Goa.

Speaking to the media, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said that MGP leader Sudin Dhavlikar had expressed his wish to become the next Chief Minister. “He said he has sacrificed many times by supporting the BJP. So he wants to become the chief minister, but BJP will not agree to that. That has to be worked out,” he added.

Now reports are emerging that the BJP-led coalition has two candidates in mind- Speaker Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane.

Sawant is known to have been groomed by Parrikar himself but Rane reportedly has the support of Goa Forward and Independent MLAs.

With the demise of Parrikar, the strength of 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly has been reduced to 36. BJP MLA Francis D’Souza died last month, while two Congress members had resigned last year.