Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
AS GOA Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar took a special chartered flight for Delhi to be admitted at AIIMS for treatment after a meeting with Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo on Saturday morning, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), an ally in the BJP-led government in the state, said it is “high time” he hands over charge to the seniormost minister.
After meeting Parrikar, Lobo told the media, “Portfolios will be distributed today to existing ministers so that the administration can run smoothly and ministers can take decisions on any files. He (Parrikar) will distribute 48 portfolios, but will keep two or three like Home, Finance, GAD (General Administrative Department) for himself.”
But stating that the government has not been able to function smoothly in the last eight months, MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar said, “It is high time Parrikar hands over charge to the seniormost minister for smooth functioning of the government.”
Sources said Sudin Dhavalikar of MGP, elder brother of the MGP chief, has been offered the post of Deputy Chief Minister and asked to consider merging his party with the BJP if he wishes to look at full leadership.
Deepak Dhavalikar, however, ruled out any possibility of the MGP’s merger with the BJP, according to PTI. “There is no question of merger. We are not interested in merger. It will never happen. We have built the party over several years and it is the hope for future of Goa’s politics,” Dhavalikar said. The MGP has three MLAs in the Vidhan Sabha.
Goa Forward Party chief and state Agriculture minister Vijai Sardesai counterterned Dhavalikar. “Everything that MGP wants need not happen. In an alliance, decisions are taken collectively…. Why should charge be given now? Parrikar is running the government, and there is no vacancy,” PTI quoted Sardesai.
While Sawant and Lobo are expected to have some portfolios between them, with the BJP’s second most senior leader Francis D’Souza also hospitalised, Parrikar is expected to hand over portfolios held by D’Souza to other ministers. The Power portfolio held by Pandurang Madkaikar will be handed to another minister since he is also hospitalised and it does not appear he will recover any time soon, sources in BJP said.
A central team of BJP leaders is expected to reach Goa along with party observers to understand the roles to be assigned and take a final decision on the issue of a “full-time chief minister”, a demand made by opposition Congress for four months now.
Asked whether a new CM candidate is being finalised, Lobo said, “This can be only discussed at a time when he (Parrikar) cannot continue any more.”
In Hyderabad, BJP president Amit Shah said, “We are praying for his health to improve. The party will take a decision at an appropriate time.”
In Delhi, AIIMS is yet to issue a statement on Parrikar’s hospitalisation.