Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Thursday ruled out a change in the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led dispensation on account of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s ill health, and alleged the Congress was playing to the gallery by staking claim to form the government as it did not have the required numbers.
The government is functioning ‘very well’ and all the alliance partners are firmly supporting Parrikar, who is undergoing treatment at Delhi's AIIMS, the BJP leader asserted.
The Congress, which is the single-largest party with 16 MLAs, has staked claim to form the government in the coastal state and said it has the support of over 21 legislators in the 40-member assembly.
The opposition party's claim comes at a time when sixty-two-year-old Parrikar is admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for a pancreatic ailment.
“The Congress doesn't have the numbers. If they have the support of 21 MLAs, then they should parade them before the governor. They are just playing to the gallery," Rane told reporters in Panaji.
He claimed the Congress leaders were constantly calling up BJP MLAs and ‘pleading’ for support.
Asked about the current political situation in the state, he said, “Where is the question of leadership change? We have our chief minister in place. He is undergoing treatment, but that does not mean we should replace him.”
"The state government is functioning very well and all the alliance partners are firmly supporting Parrikar, providing stability to the coalition for last one-and-a-half years," he said.
On the visit of BJP's central observers to Goa during the weekend, Rane said, "The party leaders never discussed about change in leadership during their meeting."
Even if there is a question of leadership change, it would be decided by central leaders in consultation with the local BJP unit and alliance partners, he said.
"Right now, it is not the time for leadership change in Goa," he added.
BJP president Amit Shah had sent three party observers -- B L Santhosh, Ram Lal and Vijay Puranik -- to Goa on Sunday to meet the local leaders and alliance partners and take stock of the current political situation.
Rane rubbished the Congress's allegations that governance in the state has come to a standstill in Parrikar's absence.
‘Today's world is technology driven. Files can be cleared on e-mail. Even when I am abroad, if there is any urgent file, I clear it on e-mail,” the minister said.
The Congress, in its memorandum submitted earlier to Governor Mridula Sinha, had claimed that in absence of the chief minister, the government was not functioning properly.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar said Wednesday that the Congress had the support of over 21 MLAs, giving it enough strength to form the government in the state.
He had earlier said the BJP might force dissolution of the assembly and another election in just a year-and-a-half.
The Assembly polls in Goa were held in February 2017.
The state is being ruled by the BJP with the support of the Goa Forward Party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and Independent MLAs.
The BJP has 14 seats in the assembly, the GFP and the MGP have three each and the NCP has one.
There are also three Independent legislators.