Panaji: With Manohar Parrikar gone, BJP and its allies got into a huddle late into Sunday evening to decide his successor. However, by early Monday morning, there was no breakthrough. (Also read: Centre Announces National Mourning, Schools, Colleges to Remain Closed)
While all allies agree that they couldn’t let the Governor call for suspended animation of the Assembly, it is the name of the new Chief Minister that they reportedly couldn’t agree on. Reports say Union Minister Nitin Gadkari began talks with all allies and party legislators well past midnight.
Reportedly, Gadkari and party observer B L Santosh have spoken to every MLA and it went on till 5 AM. Coming out of the meeting, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo told the media that Maharashtra Gomantak Party (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.
Reports say that the BJP had 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.
Most of the MLAs told media that their top priority was Parrikar’s funeral first.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar was quoted as saying, “A decision will happen today morning. We will be giving a letter to the Governor… There is no problem about the chief ministership. Other problems will be resolved by 10 AM. We will go to Governor after the body is brought to BJP office.”
On his part, Sudin Dhavlikar said Gadkari asked him several questions but they were “confidential” in nature. The party is expected to get a call from BJP, after which a few decisions will be made.
Vijay Sardesai of Goa Forward Party said the decision was taking time as “shoes of Parrikkar were too large and not easy to fill” and that “nothing is confirmed yet”. He added, “We had given support to Manohar Parrikar not BJP. Now that he is no more, options are open. We want stability in Goa, we don’t want dissolution of the House. We’ll wait for the decision at the BJP legislature meeting and then take the next step.”
Meanwhile, the Congress has claimed the support of Churchill Alemao of NCP and Independent Prasad Gaonkar. However, a leading daily reported that Gaonkar was spotted at the hotel where the BJP meetings were taking place.