On the other hand, BJP MLAs and prominent State BJP leaders went into a meeting at the private residence of the late Chief Minister
In a late evening development on Sunday, claiming to be the single largest party in the 36-member truncated Goa legislative assembly, the Congress formally staked its claim with Governor Mridula Sinha to form a government in the State.
In a letter to Governor Sinha, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar said that coalition allies had aligned with the BJP in 2017 with a written condition that it would support a BJP-led government only if Mr. Parrikar leads the coalition as Chief Minister. Now, in view of Mr. Parrikar’s death, BJP has no allies.
He further stated that it was up to her to ensure “smooth transition and transfer of power”.
“Congress being the single largest party, it is submitted that the leader of the Congress party is entitled to be invited to form the next government. We, therefore, hereby once again stake our claim to form the government and request Your Excellency to extend the invitation to our leader to form the next government,” the letter stated.
BJP leaders meet
On the other hand, BJP MLAs and prominent State BJP leaders went into a meeting at the private residence of the late Chief Minister, where they were expected to meet Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to formulate a strategy to form a government.
MLAs from alliance parties, namely, Goa Forward, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, and three independents also joined the BJP MLAs and leaders.
Goa Forward party cheif Vijai Sardesai said that the decision about the next leader would be taken after all the coalition partners meet. He said one of the suggestions was to make a non-MLA the next chief minister, which was also being considered.
When asked whether coalition partners will continue their support to the BJP, Mr. Sardesai said, “No one should be taken for granted.”
The death of Mr. Parrikar, who represented the Panaji assembly seat, will also necessitate a fourth bypoll in Goa, where by-elections are scheduled for the Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa assembly constituencies on April 23. These will held in the state along with the Lok Sabha polls.
“With chief minister Parrikar’s demise, the ruling coalition will have to make a fresh representation to the governor after choosing their leader. The representation will have the letter of support,” a senior official from State Legislature Department told PTI.
“If the governor (Mridula Sinha) is not convinced, then she will have to invite the single largest party to form government,” he said.
In the house of 40 reduced to 36, Congress has 14 MLAs , BJP 12, MGP 3, Goa Forward 3, Nationalist Congress 1. There are also three independents.