In dramatic turn of events after the death of Manohar Parrikar, the BJP has reportedly agreed to appoint its MLA Pramod Sawant as the next chief minister of the coastal state. The party has also agreed to create two posts of the deputy chief minister. Local media reports said that the two new deputy chief ministers were likely to be Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s Sudin Dhavalikar and Goa Forward Party’s Vijai Sardesai.
The new chief minister and his two deputies may take the oath of office tonight.
This came after Sardesai had issued an ultimatum to the BJP leadership that his support was to Parrikar and not the saffron party. What may have worried the BJP leadership was that Sardesai had the support of three of his own MLAs as well as two independent MLAs, Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gaude.
Goa Assembly has 40 MLAS with BJP’s strength being reduced to 12 after the death of Parrikar. The Congress with 17 MLAs was the single largest party in 2017 assembly polls.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had arrived in Goa on Saturday night, immediately after the death of Parrikar to ensure that there was no defection of alliance partners to the Congress camp. The Congress too had written to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha before meeting her to stake its claim to form the government.
After holding discussion with Gadkari last night, Dhavalikar had projected himself as the next chief ministerial candidate. Later, Goa Assembly’s Deputy Speaker and BJP MLA, Michael Lobo, told reporters that Dhavalikar was indeed keen to become the chief minister. “He said he has sacrificed many times by supporting BJP, he has put his demand but the BJP will not agree to that,” Lobo was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah too arrived in Goa to meet Gadkari and MLAs from all the alliance partners.
Elsewhere, Parrikar was cremated on Monday afternoon with state honours.