The demise of Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar has left the nation in grief. As the country observes national mourning on Monday, a paramount question still looms on the BJP-led alliance in the state: Who will be the next chief minister?
With Congress claiming stake to form the government in Goa asserting to be the single largest party in the state, the situation has become more complicated for Union Minister Nitin Gadkari who reached Goa and held a closed-door meeting with BJP allies in that state to discuss on who should be the successor of Manohar Parrikar. However, he could not secure a consensus between the party and its alliance partners in the state.
In a letter to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Congress Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar stated that after the demise of Manohar Parrikar, the time calls for "smooth transition and transfer of power" in the state, adding that the Rahul Gandhi-led party is entitled to be invited to form the next government being the single largest party in the state.
While the strength of the Goa Assembly is 40, it has now reduced to 36 after three seats got vacant in the assembly following the death of BJP MLA Francis D'Souza and resignation of two Congress MLAs namely Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar. With the strength of the House reducing to 36, a party would require the support of 19 MLAs to form a government at the state.
Present party position in the Goa Assembly (as even mentioned in the letter from Congress leaders to Goa Governor):
While the Congress is claiming the stake asserting itself as the single-largest party in the state with 14 MLAs in the 40-member House at present, the BJP has 12 lawmakers. However, with the NDA government supported by three MLAs each of Maharashtra Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party, an NCP MLA in the assembly and three independent MLAs, the number changes drastically.
Congress Vs NDA numbers:
Earlier, the NDA allies have made it clear that they would support only a government led by Manohar Parrikar, who served as the chief minister of the state for four times. This was the reason why Parrikar had quit as the Defence Minister and returned to Goa in early 2017 ahead of the Assembly election in the state.
Meanwhile, Goa BJP leaders Pramod Sawant and Vinay Tendulkar are in the fray to be the next CM of Goa, a decision which will be taken Monday evening.
The Election Commission of India, while announcing the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections on March 10, had also announced by-election dates for the three vacant seats. The bypolls in Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa will be held on April 23, during the same time with the Lok Sabha polls.