With Manohar Parrikar On Health Leave, Congress Stakes Claim In Goa

As Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals for treatment in the last few months, the Congress has alleged that the administration had “collapsed” and today staked claim to form the government. While the BJP has maintained that the alliance government in the coastal state is stable and no demand has been made for change in leadership, the Goa Congress demanded that the BJP-led state government be dismissed.

The Congress, which has 16 members in the 40-member state Assembly, submitted a memorandum to the Governor Mridula Sinha, urging her not to dissolve the Assembly and instead invite the Congress to form the government, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said.

He added that the state is not in a position to face another election within one-and-half year as that would mean stress on the state exchequer.

“The party urged the governor not to consider dissolution of the state Legislative Assembly, which is a possibility considering internal fighting in the ruling alliance and illness of Parrikar,” Mr Kavlekar told news agency Press Trust of India.

He claimed the Congress has support of legislators from other parties and can form the government. “We will prove our majority on the floor of the House,” he said.

The Goa Congress members, however, are yet to meet the governor, who is currently travelling and is expected to return tomorrow.

The Congress move comes after a BJP central team met former Goa party lawmakers earlier today. After the meet, senior BJP leader Ram Lal said that the allies have reiterated their support to the BJP.

“We have taken everyone’s opinion which would be shared with leaders in Delhi to take a decision,” Mr Lal said.

Mr Parrikar’s worsening health has subjected the BJP to attacks from the Congress which had won more seats but failed to stitch an alliance with enough numbers in the assembly. The BJP managed support of smaller parties — the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three independents — and formed the government.

Mr Parrikar, 62, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment, was admitted to the AIIMS on Saturday. He had undergone a three-month-long treatment in the United States earlier this year. Some other ministers in his cabinet have also been keeping unwell. Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza is currently undergoing treatment in New York and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar suffered a brainstroke a few months back. 

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