Even before the demise of Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday, there was uncertainty in the state government due to his prolonged illness. With the Congress-led Opposition having called for the dismissal of the government just a day before his death, the BJP and its allies in Goa are working to reach a consensus on appointing the next chief minister.
However, the NDA government in the state has yet to come to a decision on a candidate, even after Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari arrived in Goa late on Sunday to lead the discussion on the matter.
The discussion is at an impasse reportedly because of the BJP's insistence that Parrikar's successor be "from their own camp". However, leaders of the party's allies, such as the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), want to be appointed to the state's top office as a reward for the "sacrifices" they have made.
"During a meeting with Nitin Gadkari, Sudin Dhavalikar expressed his willingness to become the Chief Minister of Goa. He said he has sacrificed many times by supporting the BJP, and now, he has put in his demand, but the BJP will not agree to that,"Michael Lobo, BJP MLA and Deputy Speaker of the Goa Assembly, told reporters.
While Dhavalikar, an MGP MLA, has pitched his candidacy, BJP MLAs have recommended the names of party leaders Vishwajit Rane and Pramod Sawant for the post.
Earlier, Goa Forward Party (GFP) chief Vijai Sardesai, whose party is also an ally of the BJP, had said that the meeting was inconclusive, and "the BJP has informed them that they will get back later during the day".
Sardesai is also believed to be a hopeful for the post. "Sardesai stressed that his party had strongly supported Manohar Parrikar, and not the BJP," NDTV reported.
Here are profiles of the frontrunners for the post of chief minister:
The current Speaker of the Goa Assembly, Sawant has been a prominent presence in Goa's political scene since Parrikar's illness was announced in October 2018. In February, the BJP leader had updated the public about the state of Parrikar's health, after the chief minister was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
Sawant represents the Sanquelim constituency in Goa and is an Ayurveda practitioner by profession. He is believed to have been close to Parrikar and was also groomed as a politician by the chief minister himself.
Rane is the Health Minister of Goa. The BJP leader is the son of former Goa chief minister and Congress leader Pratapsingh Raoji Rane.
While Sawant was close to Parrikar, Rane was pulling ahead of him in the race to the chief minister's post with the support of ally Goa Forward Party and other independent MLAs, according to The Indian Express.
Dhavalikar, chief of BJP ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and who has struck a strong claim to chief ministership, is reportedly a five-term member of the Goa Legislative Assembly representing the Marcaim constituency.
Among the BJP’s allies, Dhavalikar was given the charge of the Public Works Department after Manohar Parrikar took over as chief minister in 2017. Dhavalikar had also been in charge of the same portfolioin the previous BJP-led government in the state headed by Laxmikant Parsekar.
Goa Forward Party (GFP) chief Vijay Sardesai holds the Town and Country Planning portfolio in the current Goa Assembly. Sardesai's support to the Parrikar government is 2017 is regarded as being a decider in the favour of the saffron party's chances for form government in the state.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Mar 18, 2019 11:50:11 IST