The Congress party on Sunday formally stakes its claim to form the government in Goa, professing to be the single largest party in the 36-member state Legislative Assembly, in a letter to Governor of the state Mridula Sinha.
Meanwhile, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who had successfully managed to cobble together a coalition in the state under the leadership of Parrikar in 2017, met with top party leaders and lawmakers from alliance parties including Goa Forward, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three independent MLAs overnight in Panaji. However, no consensus was reached during the meeting on who will head the government in Goa.
Goa chief minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away on Sunday evening after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 63.
In a letter to the Goa Governor, Congress leader of the 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.
"The coalition partners of the Parrikar-led government had allied with the BJP on the condition that the government would be headed by Parrikar, the then Defence Minister of India. The BJP, therefore, has no allies as of now," Kavlekar said in his letter to Mridula Sinha.
Manohar Parrikar, who was the then Union Defence Minister, had taken over the reigns of the state after the BJP failed to get a majority in the 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly elections.
After the demise of Manohar Parrikar, Goa government on Sunday announced that the state would observe seven days of state mourning, from March 18, 2019 to March 24, 2019. A state funeral will be accorded to the late former Defence Minister on Monday. The National Flag will fly at half-mast in the National Capital and capitals of States and Union Territories.