Panaji, March 2: With the absence of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar owing to ill health, the Congress is putting pressure on the Bharatiya Janata Party to name his replacement, alleging that the state is in “crisis” and the administration “on the verge of collapse”. The party said that the senior-most minister in the coalition government should take over its reins till Parrikar recovered. Also Read - COVID-19: BJP MLA Kiran Maheshwari Passes Away, PM Modi Condoles Demise

Goa Congress chief Shantaram Naik said that the state administration was on the verge of collapse with Parrikar remaining indisposed since February 15. Naik said that the “state is in complete crisis and the administration is on the verge of collapse.” Also Read - PM Modi To Inaugurate Widened NH Stretch, Attend Dev Deepawali in Varanasi Today

The tactic comes as Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP) have made it clear that their support to the BJP will continue till Parrikar remains the chief minister. GFP leader Vijay Sardesai had even said they pledged their support to Parrikar and not the BJP. Also Read - Regretting Error: Congress MP Anand Sharma Clarifies After Praising PM Modi's Visit to Vaccine Facilities

“Our wishes are with the chief minister and we pray for his speedy recovery but, at the same time, the state cannot be left without proper administration. We cannot ignore the fact that the coalition government is not in a position to run the state in the absence of Parrikar,” Naik said.

Not wasting any more time, the Congress has opened channels of talk with the GFP and some Independents on government formation in case the BJP names Parrikar’s replacement, the Hindustan Times reported.

The Congress with 16 MLAs is the single-largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly. The BJP has 14 legislators and is supported by three legislators each of the MGP and the GFP.

Three Independents and one member of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have also pledged their support to the BJP.

In Goa polls last year, even though the Congress emerged as the single largest party, it failed to form the government in the state. On the other hand, BJP secured the support of the MGP, GFP and Independents to form the government.

The Congress is now hoping to secure the support of GFP and Independents to form the government. A Congress leader familiar with the developments said his party was willing to give the deputy chief minister’s post to Sardesai in case he was ready to dump the BJP. “We have started back-channel talks with some Independents and they are ready to support us. The BJP is in a precarious situation. If it names Parrikar’s successor, the government may fall and if it doesn’t, the state will suffer,” he claimed.

Naik also alleged that the situation had kept important issues, like the crisis in the mining sector, on hold.

“Due to the chief minister’s health, the government is yet to take any decision in the mining matter. There is no time left. The government needs to act immediately. Fresh extraction of iron ore would stop in the state from March 15,” Naik said.

With inputs from PTI