The Goa Forward Party led by Vijai Sardesai has said that it may rethink its decision to support the BJP in the state after the death of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar since its support was never for the saffron party.
Moments after Parrikar’s death, Sardesai said that his party had extended its support to Parrikar and the BJP in 2017, when the assembly elections resulted in a fractured mandate. “We had given support to Manohar Parrikar not BJP. Now that he is not anymore, options are open. We want stability in Goa, we don’t want dissolution of house. We’ll wait for the decision at the BJP legislature meeting & then take the next step,” news agency ANI quoted Sardesai as saying.
Vijai Sardesai, Goa Forward Party: We had given support to Manohar Parrikar not BJP. Now that he is not anymore, options are open. We want stability in Goa, we don't want dissolution of house. We'll wait for the decision at the BJP legislature meeting & then take the next step. pic.twitter.com/C9nOHTQkRQ
— ANI (@ANI) March 17, 2019
In the 40-MLA state assembly, the Goa Forward Party has three MLAs and its support is key to any party for forming the government in the coastal Indian state.
Meanwhile, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari arrived in Goa late last night to oversee a meeting of BJP legislature party following the death of Parrikar. Sardesai too reportedly met Gadkari along with his party MLAs Vinod Palyekar and Jayesh Salgaonkar. He was also accompanied by two independent MLAs, Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gaude.
Also holding discussion with Gadkari was Sudin Dhavalikar from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, who has 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.
The Congress, on the other hand, has sent a letter to Governor Mridula Sinha staking claim to form the new government arguing that it was the single largest party in the state. In its letter, signed by Girish Chodankar (Goa Congress chief) and Chandrakant Kavlekar (leader of Congress legislature party), the Congress also claimed that it had the support of the Goa Forward Party and the MGP.
Parrikar had died in Goa on Sunday evening after battling pancreatic cancer for over a year.