Panaji, Sep 18 : Claiming that the BJP-led coalition government was in a minority, the Congress legislative party on Tuesday formally met Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and urged her to convene a one-day session of Assembly to allow it to stake claim to form the new government.
Fifteen out of the 16 Congress legislative party members met Sinha for over an hour on Tuesday evening, during which they also alleged a breakdown in the constitutional machinery due to ill-health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, saying that there was no one to lead the treasury benches or head the Cabinet.
“We have requested her to call a special one-day session of the Assembly, where the government should prove their majority in a democratic manner. Then we will prove. We are already the single-largest party, but we should be given an opportunity to prove the majority,” Kavlekar told reporters, after meeting Sinha with 15 Congress MLAs.
CLP member Aleixo Reginaldo was out of station, a Congress leader said.
Kavlekar also said that the BJP’s constant flirting with regional parties, urging them to merge with the ruling party had ticked off BJP MLAs who were in touch with the Congress leadership with a switchover in mind.
“The Parrikar government is in a majority only on paper. They cannot choose a leader today and they are talking of mergers with regional parties. If regional parties merge, then the BJP’s own MLAs are not willing to stay back in the party. Those (BJP MLAs) are in touch with our leaders,” Kavlekar said.
Asked if the Congress legislative party, which already has four former Chief Ministers who have bickered over leadership issues in the past, had a chief ministerial candidate in mind, Kavlekar said: “We will declare our chief ministerial candidate when the Governor calls a one-day session. We are waiting for the opportunity… there will be no leadership squabbles between us. There will be no split over leadership.”
The Congress leader also said that the Governor had informed them on her call on Parrikar at the AIIMS on Tuesday.
“The Governor said that she met the Chief Minister at AIIMS and enquired about his health,” Kavlekar said, when asked if the Governor was informed about Parrikar’s health condition.
The current political crisis has arisen in Goa after the ailing Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, was airlifted to the national capital’s top hospital.
Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and now Delhi since February, when his illness was diagnosed, inviting criticism from the Opposition and civil society, which has demanded that he should resign to make way for a fully fit Chief Minister who could efficiently discharge his official duties.
The BJP high command is in the process of finding an alternative leader in absence of Parrikar, even as allies are demanding a bigger role in governance, some even eyeing the Chief Minister’s post.
The Congress is the single-largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly with 16 MLAs, while the BJP with 14 MLAs is supported by three members each of Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, a Nationalist Congress Party legislator and three independent MLAs.
What queers the pitch in the number game, however, is the health conditions of three BJP MLAs.
While Parrikar is afflicted by cancer, Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza too is currently undergoing treatment for cancer in New York. Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar, who suffered from a brainstroke some months back, is bed-ridden at his private residence near Panaji.