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'BJP is on a hunt for a leader in Goa'

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
September 17, 2018 18:52 IST
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'BJP central observers are scheming to merge smaller parties to run the government.'

IMAGE: Suffering from a pancreatic ailment, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, pictured here with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi in August 2018, is being treated at the AIIMS, New Delhi. Photograph: @@manoharparrikar/Twitter

There is a flurry of political activity in Goa as the Bharatiya Janata Party grapples with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's illness.

Parrikar, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment, has been admitted to the AIIMS, New Delhi. Apart from Parrikar, two other BJP ministers -- Francis D'Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar -- are unwell and recuperating outside Goa.

While the BJP deals with the absence of its leaders, the Congress party, sensing a political opportunity, sent a delegation to the Raj Bhavan in Goa on Monday, September 17, asking that it be given the opportunity to prove a majority in the state assembly. The delegation submitted two memoranda to Governor Mridula Sinha's office.

"The governor must give us a chance and we will prove our majority by getting 21 MLAs on our side," Congress Legislature Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar tells's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

The Congress has staked a claim to form the government in Goa. Why now?

We went to the governor's office. All 16 MLAs went there as the present government in Goa is not functioning. All the work in Goa has come to a halt.

We requested the governor to dismiss the Manohar Parrikar government in Goa.



Goa is regressing rather than going forward.

We cooperated with Parrikar for the last six months. However, now his condition has deteriorated and there is talk of a change in the leadership.

That is the discussion being held within the BJP. They have forgotten that the state of Goa has to function.

What does your memoranda to the governor state?

There were two requests from our side.

Firstly, we said the present government is as good as no government so it must be dismissed immediately.

Secondly, we, the Congress party, are the largest party in Goa and, therefore, we must get a chance to form the government.

We also highlighted the point that in 2002 the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) played a dirty trick when they knew they were going to lose the majority on the floor of the House, suddenly dissolved the assembly and called for presidential rule.

Therefore, we feel the BJP can repeat 2002, so we requested the governor she should not allow that.

The people of Goa have elected us for five years and the elected government has completed only 18 months.

Now since the Parikkar government is not capable to run the state, we should be given an opportunity to run the state and we will successfully do so.

It is not good to have fresh elections in Goa. We want the BJP government of Goa to be dismissed.

Didn't Parrikar sign a power of attorney to a committee of BJP leaders to rule Goa before he left for the United States for medical treatment?

That doesn't hold now; it is a thing of the past.

He had formed a three-member committee and that committee ran the government for three months.

At present it is invalid. Now Goa is not functioning.

BJP central observers have come to Goa and are scheming to merge smaller parties within their party to run the government.

In this scenario they have forgotten they are in power to run the government.

In this situation, we had no option but to go to the governor.

Do you have the required numbers to form a government? Where will your numbers come from?

If we didn't have the numbers, why would we have gone to the governor?

The governor must give us a chance and we will prove our majority by getting 21 MLAs on our side.

If you are so confident of your numbers, then why don't you call for a no confidence motion in the assembly rather than ask the governor to dismiss the Parrikar government?

We have no idea what tricks the BJP central leadership in Delhi are up to that will impact Goa.

So, if the governor allows us to prove the majority, the Congress will prove the majority.

The BJP has lost the moral right to rule Goa.

IMAGE: Goa's Congress leaders led by Chandrakant Kavlekar stake a claim to form the government at the governor's office. Photograph: @INCGoa/Twitter

The BJP has a majority in the House, so how is the Congress claiming to have a majority?

If they have the majority, why are they not running the government?

Just by getting numbers, you cannot run a government.

I told you Goa is regressing. Projects have come to a halt and every voter in Goa knows about this.

We were patiently waiting for a positive change in the CM's health and as the Opposition party we cooperated, but now his condition is very bad.

The BJP can always replace Parrikar and get another leader to run its government.

The BJP has no leader in Goa except Parrikar.

They have sent a team from Delhi and are offering posts to other party members so that they join the BJP.

If they do this, when will Goa get a new CM?

The BJP is on a hunt today for a leader in Goa. They have 10 MLAs. Two other ministers are also ill.

They know they do not have a capable leader. The government in Goa is today only for name's sake.

The Congress won most seats in the 2017 assembly election, but Governor Sinha accepted the BJP's claim to form a government. Why would she support you now?

What happened in the past is the past. Whether it was right or wrong for the BJP to form the government is old news now and let us not get into those details.

We respected the (governor's) verdict and worked as the Opposition party.

We cooperated with them for the last 18 months, but now their government has stopped functioning.

Why would the governor invite you to form a government when she did not call you in March 2017?

We are expecting she will call us to form the government by tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.

The Congress must be given a chance to form the government. We were the single largest party and are requesting the governor to give us a chance.

In Karnataka, the BJP was short of a majority but still B S Yeddyurappa was called to form the government. There, the BJP had no majority but was still given a chance, so why not the Congress in Goa?

What is past is past; we do not want to dig into that, but now the governor must give us a chance.

Why would the ruling BJP make way for the Congress?

Okay, fine. Why then are they not running the government?

For the last 18 months the government was running and we did not say anything.

Constitutionally you have to bring in a no-confidence motion, defeat the BJP-led government and only then form a government.

We will see that later, but let us wait and see what the governor does now.

The numbers game in Goa

In the 40-member Goa assembly, the Congress is the largest party with 16 MLAs, five short of the halfway mark.

After the Goa election threw up a hung verdict last year, the BJP led by Manohar Parrikar cobbled up a majority for the 14-member BJP with the support of three MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, three MLAs from the Goa Forward Party and 3 Independent legislators.

The Nationalist Congress Party has one seat.

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