After Congress stakes claim to form government, BJP MLAs asked not to leave Goa

ANI Panaji, Goa, India Mar 17, 2019, 12.49 PM(IST)

File photo of Goa CM Manohar Parrikar. Photograph:( PTI )

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A meeting of BJP MLAs is scheduled for today at the party's Panaji office, with a number of news reports saying the BJP is looking for alternatives to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. 

The ruling BJP has asked all its MLAs not to leave Goa against the backdrop of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's deteriorating health and Congress staking a claim to form a government in the state. 

Goa BJP general secretary Sadanand Tanawade told ANI that all the party's legislators were asked not to leave Goa at a meeting held on Saturday. 

After Congress dispatched a letter to Governor Mridula Sinha, BJP called for an "emergency meeting" at the party's headquarters in Panaji. A meeting of BJP MLAs is also scheduled for today at the party`s Panaji office, state Power Minister Nilesh Cabral on Saturday. A number of news reports said Sunday that the BJP is looking for alternatives to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. 

The Goa Congress on Saturday urged the governor to dismiss the BJP-led coalition government and invite the party to form a government in the state. In a letter to the governor, Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Assembly, Chandrakant Kavlekar, claimed that the Congress party has the majority to form the government and that "the numbers of the BJP may further dwindle" in the Assembly. 

"Consequent upon the sad demise of BJP MLA Francis D`Souza, the BJP government led by Manohar Parrikar, which has long lost the trust of people, has also lost the strength of the House," Chandrakant said in his letter to the Governor. 

Former Deputy Chief Minister Francis D`Souza died last month after a prolonged battle with cancer. 

Stating that Parrikar is "very ill", Deputy Speaker and Calangute BJP MLA Michael Lobo on Saturday said, "There are no chances of him getting well. 

"Parrikar, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment, has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York since February last year. 

Congress had staked to form the government in October last year too but then its claims were not accepted by the Governor. 

The present strength of the Goa Assembly stands at 37 instead of 40. 

Congress is currently the single-largest party in the state with 14 MLAs.BJP has 13 legislators, including Parrikar, and its government is supported by three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtra Gomantak Party, and three Independents. 

Two Congress MLAs have resigned after defecting to BJP.