Shah begins talks to find possible successor to CM Parrikar

Shah begins talks to find possible successor to CM Parrikar

Courtesy : Bureau25/10/2018 21:10

As of now, the BJP has no choice and the ailing Parrikar has to stay at the helm of the alliance govt in Goa.

New Delhi: BJP national president Amit Shah has begun discussions, including with the party’s alliance partners in Goa, to find a possible successor to ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

According to party sources, “Shah will hold discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the Goa situation and take advice from him.”

Though the BJP’s Goa unit has repeatedly maintained that the party is not considering any possibility of change in leadership of the government, Shah held one-on-one meetings with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s (MGP) Ramkrishna Dhavalikar and Goa Forward Party’s (GFP) Vijai Sardesai last week.

He also met state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant — both aspirants for the chief minister’s post.

According to party sources, besides Rane and Sawant, names of Ayush minister Shripad Naik and state party president Vinay Tendulkar also came up for discussion.

Party sources said Shah spoke to the allies and sought their cooperation in taking the coalition forward and for a smooth transition of power, if and when it happens.

Against the backdrop of the Congress MLAs joining the party and attempts by the BJP to fortify itself in the current political scenario, Shah also assured the alliance partners that they need not worry about their positions in the government.

Shah has reportedly put forward three names — Tendulkar, Sawant and Rane — before the alliance partners for the chief minister’s position.

MGP’s Dhavalikar said, “I told Shah that in case there is a leadership issue in future, senior alliance partners should be given chief ministership so that the message goes across that the BJP cares for its partners.”

Apart from  Parrikar, two other ministers, Francis D'Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar are undergoing treatment (in the US and in Mumbai respectively).

Furthermore, Shripad Naik was unacceptable to both the MGP and GFP. Also, the independents and the GFP loathed the prospect of Dhavalikar as the chief minister.

"We had no option but to continue with Parrikar," a senior BJP leader from Delhi said.

The BJP leadership is now contemplating a steering committee of senior ministers to run Goa in Parrikar's absence.

The whole episode has highlighted the BJP's failure to nurture a second-rung leadership in Goa. When Parrikar was moved to Delhi in 2015 as the defence minister, Lakshmikant Parsekar was made the chief minister. But he failed to impress.

Indeed, it very nearly cost the BJP the 2017 assembly polls as its tally dropped to 13 seats from 24  (Congress MLA Vishwajeet Rane defected later, taking its tally to 14).

Analysts say that if Parrikar doesn't recover in time, the BJP's campaign for Goa's two Lok Sabha seats next year will be back to relying on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, fearing loss of more MLAs to the BJP, the Congress forced its legislators into a resort for two days.

Ever since Mandrem MLA Dayanand Sopte and Shiroda legislator Subhash Shirodkar quit the Congress to join the BJP on Tuesday, panic has gripped the grand old party leadership.

Shocked by the developments, the party has now swung into damage control mode and has decided to protect its flock by literally staying together.

Goa desk in-charge and All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary A Chella Kumar confirmed that the party MLAs were staying together, but refused to elaborate further.

All he offered was that they were “waiting and watching”.

“They are staying together because there is no place in Panaji to hold meetings and stay. We are now waiting,” Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar said when asked to confirm the developments.

By late Thursday evening, most of them had left the resort.

While St Andre MLA Francis Silveira chose to stay mum, former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane, in a lighter vein, said, “There will be news when we topple the government. There is no news now.”



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