Manohar Parrikar's health: BJP central observers reach Goa to assess situation, Congress says it is watching developments
Some media reports have suggested that the BJP is exploring alternatives for the chief minister's position in Goa till Manohar Parrikar gets well.
Panaji: A three-member team of central observers of the ruling BJP arrived in Goa on Sunday afternoon to take stock of the political situation in view of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's indisposition, even as the Congress said it is watching the developments.
Parrikar, 62, has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi for treatment.
Some media reports have suggested that the BJP is exploring alternatives for the chief minister's position in Goa till Parrikar gets well.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sent its national general secretaries BL Santhosh and Ram Lal and Goa in-charge Vijay Puranik to assess the situation in the state, where the party came to power with the support of regional outfits and Independents.
"They will be holding a series of meetings on Sunday and Monday with BJP leaders and also the alliance partners — the Goa Forward Party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Independents," BJP state chief Vinay Tendulkar told reporters.
The central observers met the party's legislators as well as Goa unit chief Vinay Tendulkar and Member of Parliament (South Goa) Narendra Sawaikar at a city hotel on Sunday.
Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, after the meeting, said that he had given his views about the current political situation and it was now for the party to take a decision.
Rane, however, refused to divulge details of the meeting.
"We have briefed them about the facts. Each one of us has our own views and we briefed them about it. It is not right to come out in public with what we discussed," he said.
Deputy Speaker of State Legislative Assembly Michael Lobo told reporters that the meeting was centred around the functioning of the government and Parrikar's ailment.
"The observers sent by the party high command are monitoring the situation. Let them report to the high command and come back to us with a solution to the problem," Lobo said.
On being asked about what the problem was, the deputy speaker said, "There is no problem in the party. Right now, the chief minister is not well, that is the problem," he said.
The observers are expected to meet leaders of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), allies in the Parrikar government, later Sunday, party functionaries said.
Lobo had told PTI on Saturday that the party emissaries will suggest the allies that they should become part of the saffron party.
"A proposal will be made to the GFP and the MGP, asking them to merge with the BJP. Only after that, we will take up issues such as who will be the next chief minister or who will take over the charge or anything related to it," Lobo had said.
The BJP currently has 14 legislators in the 40-member assembly while the GFP and the MGP have three each. The saffron party is also supported by three Independents.
The Opposition Congress has 16 MLAs while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has one legislator.
The Congress said on Sunday it was watching the developments and may explore the possibility of forming government in Goa but "not by compromising the state's interest".
"Our stand is very clear. We will definitely explore all possibilities but that does not mean that we will do it by compromising the ideology or the interest of Goans," All India Congress Committee secretary A Chellakumar, who is also Goa in-charge of the party, said.
"We are not in a hurry to capture power by compromising the interest of the people of Goa. The Congress is accountable to the people," he said.
Chellakumar said his party was watching the developments in the state.
"All our MLAs are together. We are watching what is going on in the ruling camp. The internal bickering has already started. The cabinet ministers have started throwing stones at each other," he said.
The Congress leader said all legislators in Goa, cutting across party lines, should take a stand for the sake of the state.
Parrikar was admitted to the AIIMS on Saturday morning. He had undergone a three-month-long treatment in the United States for pancreatic ailment earlier this year.
The MGP had said on Saturday it was "high time" Parrikar handed over the charge to the senior-most minister in his cabinet during his absence.
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