The power tussle in Goa between the BJP-led coalition government and the Congress continued on Monday as Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's meeting with alliance partners to decide on leadership issue couldn't come to a consensus.
The senior BJP leader held discussions with the BJP Goa legislature wing on Sunday night. He was also scheduled to meet alliance partners, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Independents on Monday, who had given support to the Parrikar-led government.
Speaking to reporters, Gadkari said, "No final decision has been taken on the chief minister yet. I will be leaving after 6 pm. I feel that if the decision is made by then, it will be a good thing."
"We are in talks with alliance partners," he said. BJP chief Amit Shah, who is in Goa for Parrikar's last rites, is likely to take the talks further once Gadkari leaves the state.
How the numbers stacked up in Goa:
With the death of Parrikar, the strength of the Goa Legislative Assembly stands at 36. Earlier, three seats were vacant as BJP MLA Francis D'Souza passed away in February and two Congress MLAs had resigned in 2018.
The Congress is the single largest party and currently has 14 MLAs, while the BJP has 12 members. With the support of three MLAs each of MGP and the GFP and three independents, the BJP-led coalition government just about has majority in the House. An NCP MLA is also supporting the coalition.
With the strength of the House at 36, a party would require at least the support of 19 MLAs to form a government.
Stance of alliance partners:
Asked if they would continue to support the BJP, the alliance partners said "no one should not be taken for granted" as their support was to Parrikar when the government was formed in 2017.
Parrikar, who was the then Union defence minister, had taken over the reigns of the state after the BJP failed to get a majority in the 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly election.
"No one can be taken for granted. But we all want this government to survive. No one can afford the dissolution of the Assembly or keeping the House in suspended animation," GFP chief Vijai Sardesai told reporters in Panaji on Sunday evening after a meeting that was attended by leaders of his party, the MGP and Independents.
Sardesai had said the alliance partners will take a stand only after the BJP legislative party decides its leader.
The big wait:
"With chief minister Parrikar's demise, the ruling coalition will have to make a fresh representation to the governor (Mridula Sinha) after choosing their leader. The representation will have a letter of support," a senior official from State Legislature Department told PTI.
"If the governor is not convinced, then she will have to invite the single largest party to form government," he said.
What Congress is saying:
On Sunday, the Goa Congress wrote again to Governor Mridula Sinha, calling for the dismissal of the government.
According to The Times of India, leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said that the BJP was left with no allies now as coalition partners had tied up with the saffron party on the condition that Parrikar heads the government.
"Congress being the single largest party, it is submitted that the leader of the Congress legislative party is invited to form the next goverment," Kavlekar said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Mar 18, 2019 18:42:15 IST