BJP to take stock of Goa situation, Cong keeps watch

BJP to take stock of Goa situation, Cong keeps watch

File photo of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar presenting the state budget in the Legislative Assembly, in Panaji. (PTI)

Central observers of the BJP are expected to arrive in Goa Sunday to take stock of the political situation, even as the opposition Congress says it is watching the developments and will explore the possibility of forming the government in the state.

The coastal state, currently ruled by the BJP-led government, is witnessing hectic political activity as Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has been ailing since some time, has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

BJP's central observers B L Santhosh and Ram Lal are likely to arrive in Goa Sunday afternoon to take stock of the political situation and initiate a discussion with party leaders and alliance partners for a possible merger.

The Parrikar-led government is ruling the state with the support of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Independents.

"The central observers will meet BJP legislators and office-bearers followed by a meeting with the GFP, MGP and Independents," a senior BJP leader said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Michael Lobo, who is the deputy speaker of the Goa Assembly, had told PTI Saturday that the party emissaries would suggest to allies that they should become part of the saffron party.

"A proposal will be made to the GFP and 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 said.

The BJP currently has 14 legislators in the 40-member assembly while the GFP, the MGP and Independents have three each.

The Congress has 16 MLAs while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has one legislator.

Meanwhile, the Congress said it was watching the developments and may explore the possibility of forming the 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 added.

Chellakumar said his party was watching the developments in the state.

"All our MLAs are together. We are simply watching what is going on in the ruling camp. The internal bickering has already started. The cabinet ministers have started throwing stones on 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.

"All this time there was no government at all in Goa since the BJP took over in 2017. The governance was totally nil. The BJP has miserably failed in all aspects. So why you (referring to allies) take the onus of all these things by being part of that government?" he said.

Chellakumar said it is the time for legislators who went with the BJP to rectify their mistake.

"It is in their hand whether to remain in the same sinking boat or leave it. They are there against the wishes of people of Goa and against the wishes of their own voters," he said referring to MLAs of parties having an alliance with the ruling BJP.

Parrikar, 62, was admitted to the AIIMS Saturday morning. He had undergone a three-month-long treatment in the United States for pancreatic ailment earlier this year.

The MGP had said 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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