Change in leadership in Goa over CM Parrikar’s ill health ruled out

PANAJI, MARCH 17: The top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa who met on Sunday dismissed the possibility of a change in leadership owing to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s ill-health. BJP leaders asserted that there will be no change in leadership.

“There is no question about a change in leadership as of now. We are praying for his speedy recovery. Congress will get nothing out of their this exercise,” Goa state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said.

Commenting on the health of Parrikar, Deputy Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar that the CM has been critical. “Even I have not been able to see him since he is being said to be critical from last 2-3 days. I am waiting for the opportunity to see him,” he said.

Parsekar was also enquired asked about speculations around former chief minister Digambar Kamat joining the BJP. Asked if he would be happy if the former CM joins the saffron party, Parsekar said “no comments.” As per a report, Kamat is likely to join the party and take charge as the CM in Parrikar’s absence.

The strength of the Goa Assembly has reduced from 40 to 37 after the death of D’Souza and resignation of two MLAs – Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte. While the Congress currently has 14 MLAs, down from 16 after Sopte and Shirodkar left it to join the BJP, the latter has 13 MLAs. Three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party, MGP and an Independent and the lone NCP legislator are supporting the BJP.

Bypolls to the seats previously held by Sopte, Shirodkar and D’Souza are to be held along with Lok Sabha polls in the state on April 23.

Meanwhile in the meeting, the state election committee finalised the names of the candidates for two Lok Sabha seats and three for the assembly bypolls. The names will be shared with the party’s parliamentary committee which will make the official announcement on 18 March.

The private residence of Parrikar is under a blanket of security. Security officials have been given orders not to allow any person to even wait or stand at the nearby premises.