BJP president Amit Shah will meet the party’s leaders in Goa today to work out a plan and prevent any political crisis after the opposition Congress staked claim to power in the absence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is in hospital in Delhi.
Mr Shah has already contacted Goa Forward’s Vijay Sardesai, a minister in the BJP-led government, after the party’s allies rejected a plan to have minister Sudhin Dhavalikar take charge as deputy Chief Minister in the coastal state.
Mr Sardesai is said to be upset after the chief minister “suddenly” asked Mr Dhavalikar, a minister from the Maharashtra Gomantak Party or MGP, to take charge as his deputy, news agency IANS reported quoting unnamed people. In 2014, Sudhin Dhavalikar had stirred the pot with his comment that bikinis should be banned on Goa’s beaches.
Analysts say Goa may turn out to be a thorn for the BJP as the party does not have a powerful rung of second-line leaders to step in. Amit Shah’s intervention would be crucial to pacify all the allies and find a middle ground deputy to take charge while Manohar Parrikar recovers. Some other ministers have also been unwell. Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza is getting treatment in New York and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar suffered a brain stroke a few months back.
The political crisis may now worsen as the six lawmakers backing the BJP — three of the Goa Forward Party and three independents — have emerged as a front that could decide the future of the ruling coalition. In the 40-member Goa assembly, the Congress is the largest party with 16 seats and the BJP has 14.
The Congress this morning claimed it has the support of over 21 legislators in the assembly; if true, the number gives the party enough strength to form the government in the state. “We have the required numbers. I am not going to tell you whom we are in discussions with, but we need the support of 21 MLAs and we have more than that,” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar told news agency Press Trust of India.
After the 2017 Goa assembly election, the BJP stitched an alliance with Goan parties and formed government, outmaneuvering the Congress in the number game. The BJP formed the government with the Goa Forward Party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three independents.