Senior BJP leader and chief minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, 63, passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer on Sunday evening. Even 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, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has given out an insensitive statement on Monday regarding the same. While addressing the media, he said:
"Last time Bjp played a fall game and governor had given a chance to Bjp to form government without the majority. But this time God has given them a chance to correct their mistake. Hope this time Governor will not repeat the same mistake as he did last time".
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari 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.
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 by polls in Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa will be held on April 23, during the same time with the Lok Sabha polls.