As Parrikar's health worsens, Congress stakes claim to form government
As Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's health took a turn for the worse, the Congress unit of the coastal state wrote to Governor Mridula Sinha asking her to dismiss his regime and invite them to form the government instead.
Separately, BJP called an emergency meeting of all legislators to discuss options and probably decide on a new CM.
Here's what happened.
Backstory: Parrikar was diagnosed with cancer months ago
Parrikar has been battling pancreatic cancer for months now. The former Union Defense Minister underwent treatment in the US, AIIMS Delhi, and at Goa Medical College Hospital.
After being diagnosed with the disease in February last year, he restricted his public appearances.
In January 2019, Parrikar, with a tube in his nose, presented the state budget sending a message that he's a fighter.
Deputy Speaker Lobo confirmed Parrikar's health wasn't improving
Notably, on Saturday, BJP for the first time confirmed that Parrikar's health doesn't look good.
Deputy Speaker and BJP leader Michael Lobo said, "We are praying to God that he should get well but there are no chances of him getting well. He is very ill. It is almost...."
Lobo underscored that Parrikar will remain the CM as long as he is in Goa.
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If anything happens, new CM will be from BJP: Lobo
Michael Lobo: Leadership in Goa won't change. Till Parrikar is here, only he'll remain the Chief Minister no one has made the demand to replace him. We're praying that he gets well, but there are no chances, he is very ill.But if anything happens to him, new CM will be from BJP pic.twitter.com/zfvwDrbXBN— ANI (@ANI) March 16, 2019
Meanwhile, Congress wrote to Governor, said BJP doesn't have majority
Congress spent a large part of Saturday discussing its strategy. The letter to Sinha, which was signed by the leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, claimed that BJP led by Parrikar has "lost trust of the people".
Kavlekar added BJP doesn't have the majority in the House, so Congress, which is the single largest party, should be invited to form the government.
Congress emerged as single largest party after assembly elections
After the 2017 Assembly elections concluded, Congress won 17 out of the 40 seats.
However, after BJP decided to relieve Parrikar of his duties in the Centre and send him to the state, Congress lost three MLAs.
Vishwajit Rane, Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar joined BJP. While Rane was re-elected, Sopte and Shirodkar will face by-elections, which will be held along with general polls.
Kavlekar claimed BJP's numbers may dwindle further
After Congress MLAs chose BJP, the count of both parties became equal, ie., 14.
But when BJP MLA Francis D'Souza died in February 2019, Congress became the single largest party again.
In the letter, Kavlekar wrote, "We anticipate that the numbers of the BJP may further dwindle. It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to dismiss the state government."
Congress warned that President's rule will be "undemocratic and illegal"
"Any action in violation of the Constitutional mandate to invite the single largest party to form the government and any attempt made to bring the state under President's rule will be undemocratic and illegal and will be challenged, as deemed fit," the letter added.
Senior Congress leader said it was important to "move fast"
Separately, Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said they were ready to prove majority in the House.
When asked why they wrote to the Governor now, Chodankar replied, "We are human. A death is unfortunate. After D'Souza's death, we wanted to respect the time of grief."
He added they wished a speedy recovery to the CM as well but it was important to "move fast".
Understanding the take of BJP's allies
Notably, BJP was able to form the government in the state with the help of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Forward Party, and three independents.
The local parties agreed to lend support to BJP only if Parrikar returned to the state.
With the situation arising due to Parrikar's health, Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai said they might "rethink" the alliance, reported India Today.
We supported Parrikar, not party: Sardesai
"We a group of MLAs from our party and independents met. We had supported Manohar Parrikar and not a party. So in case of any eventuality, we will rethink. Everything will be on the table to discuss. Let them come with a proposal," Sardesai said.
Goa Congress News
BJP MLA Francis D
Deputy Speaker Lobo
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar
Goa Forward Party
Goa Medical College Hospital
Governor Mridula Sinha
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party
Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar
Union Defense Minister
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