18 Mar 2019
After Manohar Parrikar's demise, who will now be Goa's CM
Written byShalini Ojha
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar died on Sunday, after battling pancreatic cancer for months. With his demise, politics in the coastal state entered a phase of uncertainty and soon two meetings were held in two separate settings.
Both BJP, which is in power in the state, and Congress, which has staked claim to form the government, discussed strategy.
Here's what went down.
Backstory: After 2017 elections, BJP formed government in state
Goa Assembly is 40-member strong. After the 2017 elections, Congress emerged as the single largest party but BJP formed the government by stitching a post-poll alliance with local parties and independents.
Back then, Parrikar had left defense portfolio at Centre to return home.
As his condition deteriorated, Congress wrote to Governor Mridula Sinha asking her to dismiss the BJP-regime and invite them instead.
The effective strength of Goa assembly is 36
With the deaths of Parrikar and another BJP MLA Francis D'Souza as well as the resignation of two Congress MLAs (they are awaiting by-polls), the effective strength of the Assembly is 36.
Congress has 14 MLAs, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party have 3 MLAs each, NCP has 1 MLA and there are three independents.
Congress has written to Governor, but doesn't have numbers yet
Separately, the BJP has 12 MLAs, but one of its members is unwell. Pandurang Madkaikar suffered a stroke and has been in the hospital for weeks.
This brings BJP's effective tally to 11, giving Congress enough backing to make its case.
But Congress is still short of the magic number, i.e., 19. If Sinha invites them, they'll have to prove majority in floor test.
Congress doesn't want President's rule in state
An impromptu CLP meeting was held at the house of Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar to discuss the course of action.
Notably, in the letter to Sinha, which Kavlekar signed, he wrote that imposing President's rule in the state will be undemocratic and it will meet resistance.
There have been apprehensions in the Congress that BJP might appoint an interim chief minister.
Meanwhile, BJP has asked its MLAs to stay in Goa
Separately, BJP has asked all its MLAs to stay put in Goa. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was scheduled to arrive in Goa past midnight.
After Parrikar's health worsened on Friday, BJP had called a "confidence-building" meeting.
In this scenario, all eyes are now on BJP's allies and independents, who said several times they supported Parrikar, not any party.
BJP ally had hinted at Assembly's suspension
Earlier, MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar had hinted that Assembly may be suspended till by-polls. "Crisis has not begun yet. The crisis in the government will happen after Manohar Parrikar," he had said on Sunday.
Will Digambar Kamat join BJP? Here's what he said
Meanwhile, rumors suggested that senior Congress leader Digambar Kamat may switch to BJP and could be the saffron party's CM candidate.
But Kamat, who reached Delhi on Sunday afternoon, said it will be "suicidal". Notably, Kamat had joined Congress after ditching BJP in 2005.
After Parrikar's demise, Kamat said that he hasn't got any offer from BJP and stories were planted in media.
Kamat spoke about "fate"
"If becoming the Chief Minister of Goa is in my destiny then no one can stop him from getting the post," the former CM of the state said. On Kamat's reported "plunge", BJP leader Vinay Tendulkar said they haven't received any such information.