With Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar hospitalised, Goa's main opposition the Congress submitted a memorandum to Governor Mridula Sinha on Monday, staking claim to form an alternate government.
The move came at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party high command has sent three senior leaders -- Ram Lal, B L Santhosh and Vinay Puranik -- in Goa to meet the state party leaders and allies to take stock of the political situation.
Parrikar, 62, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment, is currently admitted in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi for treatment.
The Congress, which has 16 members in the 40-member state assembly, submitted a memorandum to the governor, urging her not to dissolve the assembly and instead invite the party to form the government, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said.
The state is being ruled by the BJP-led alliance.
The BJP has 14 seats in the assembly, its allies the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party have three each. Three independents and an MLA from the Nationalist Congress Party also support the BJP.
All the 16 Congress MLAs, led by Kavlekar, went to the Raj Bhavan but could not meet the governor as she is out of the state.
"The party urged the governor not to consider dissolution of the state Legislative Assembly, which is a possibility considering internal fighting in the ruling alliance and illness of Parrikar," Kavlekar said.
He said the Congress has support of legislators from other parties and can form the government, if given a chance by governor.
"We will prove our majority on the floor of the House," he said.
Earlier, BJP leader Ram Lal said the Goa government is stable and no demand has been made for a change in the leadership.
He stated this after a meeting with party MLAs, former legislators and core committee members.
He said the BJP's alliance partners -- the Goa Forward Party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Independents -- conveyed that they will agree to any political decision taken by the saffron party.
Kavlekar said that the state is not in a position to face another election within one-and-half year due to whims and fancies of BJP.
"Having another election means stress on the state exchequer," he said.
Earlier too, the Congress had staked claim on May 18, 2018 to form the government in Goa, citing the example of Karnataka where the largest party BJP was invited to form the government after the assembly polls threw up a fractured verdict.
The Congress had said that it had not been invited to form the government in Goa after the Assembly polls in March last year despite it emerging as the largest single party.
The party had also met Governor on September 7, 2018 urging her to intervene as State Administration was suffering due to sickness of the chief minister.
Shah, other leaders visit Parrikar at AIIMS
Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah and many senior party leaders visited ailing Parrikar at AIIMS on Monday.
Sources in the premier hospital said although 62-year-old Parrikar 'is not critical', he was under observation.
He is admitted at the old private ward under Dr Pramod Garg, professor of gastroenterology.
Apart from Shah, Union Health Minister J P Nadda and Union Minister Vijay Goel paid a visit to Parrikar.
Earlier in the day, Shah flew to Delhi from Rajasthan and left again for the state after visiting AIIMS.
According to a hospital source, "Parrikar is not critical and is being treated by a team of doctors. He has not undergone any procedure so far."
The sources had said on Sunday that the Goa chief minister underwent a series of tests at the premier health institute.
Solution has to come from BJP, says alliance partner MGP
The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), one of the constituents of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government in Goa, on Monday said a 'common solution' on the political situation rising out of the indisposition of Parrikar has to come from the BJP.
MGP chief Deepak Dhavalikar said the solution has to come from the BJP as it was the single largest party in ruling alliance.
"This is a coalition government but the decision (on governance in the absence of Parrikar) has to be taken by the BJP since it is the largest party in the state government. We are waiting for a common solution on the current situation, which the BJP will give us," Dhavalikar said Monday.
The BJP's solution should be in sync with what the allies have been requesting, he said, adding that his party had not given any specific proposal to the BJP on a change of leadership.
"Yes, we have told them (the BJP) if they are considering it (change in leadership), then charge should be given to the senior-most minister. Our demand continues to stand," Dhavalikar said.
On Saturday he had told reporters, "It is high time Parrikar hands over the charge to the senior-most minister for smooth functioning of the government."
His elder brother, Sudin Dhavalikar, who is the state's Public Works Department (PWD) minister, is the senior-most member of the Parrikar-led cabinet.
The MGP's demand had, however, met with resistance from other allies including the Goa Forward Party.
"What can I comment on MGP's statement? Everything that MGP wants need not happen. In an alliance, decisions are taken collectively. It cannot be the demand of a single party," GFP chief and state agriculture minister Vijai Sardesai had said on Saturday.
The MGP has three MLAs in the state Legislative Assembly.