By SM.18 Mar, 2019
PANAJI: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar"s death this evening has brought down the BJP numbers in the state assembly from 13 to 12. But along with allies, they still have 20 MLAs in the assembly, where the majority mark is at 19.
Over Parrikar"s last days, the Congress made repeated attempts to dislodge the BJP government. On Saturday, the Congress asked Governor Mridula Sinha to invite them to form government, alleging that the BJP numbers have fallen below halfway mark and they are the single largest party. Reports that senior Congress leader Digambar Kamat may join the BJP added to the political churn. Kamat has dismissed the reports.
Manohar Parrikar, 63, died at his son"s home in Panaji this evening after battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year. The BJP now has to find his successor.
The BJP has 12 MLAs in the 40-seat assembly where the effective strength is 36. It is backed by three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party and MGP, an Independent, and the only NCP legislator in the state. The Congress has 14 MLAs.
The Congress said Governor Mridula Sinha is not responding to letters or giving them any appointment. The party said she was acting like a "BJP office bearer".
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat dismissed reports that he was joining the BJP if the ruling party decides to look for a leader to replace Manohar Parrikar. "Joining the BJP is political suicide," said Kamat, who is currently in Delhi.
Manohar Parrikar"s worsening health over the last year subjected the BJP to attacks from the Congress. The opposition party repeatedly questioned Parrikar"s ability to continue work.
This morning, the BJP rushed two observers to Goa and asked all its MLAs to remain in the state amid concerns over the health of Chief Minister and the Congress bid to capture power.
The observers will also plan a strategy for the upcoming bypolls in three constituencies and Lok Sabha election in North and South Goa. The party"s election committee is currently meeting in Panaji.
While the Congress won more seats in the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP had won the race by deftly garnering enough support to cross the halfway mark.
Manohar Parrikar, who was has been ailing since February last year, was accepted as the leader by his party this morning. The former defence minister had rushed back to the state after the assembly elections, when the allies said they would support the BJP only if he heads the government.
Admitting that he was battling a "life-threatening disease", Manohar Parrikar returned to work in December after being in and out of hospitals across Mumbai, Goa, Delhi and the US. Manohar Parrikar"s public appearances with a tube in his nose drew severe criticism from the opposition, which accused the BJP of parading him in his condition to save its government.