Even as Congress staked claim to form the government in Goa following Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's death on Sunday, the BJP-led alliance held extensive discussions continuing late into Sunday night with no consensus whatsoever on who will be the next chief minister after Parrikar's demise.
The four-time Goa Chief Minister passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer at his private residence near Panaji. Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari arrived in Panaji in the early hours of Monday but could not secure a consensus between the BJP and its alliance partners in Goa, Party legislator Michael Lobo said.
Meanwhile, Gadkari was not available for comments, Lobo stated that Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) legislator Sudin Dhavalikar wanted to become the Chief Minister due to which the discussions could not go ahead.
"Sudin Dhavalikar wants himself to be the CM, while the BJP wants that the leader of the alliance should be from their camp. We could not reach to any decision," Lobo told reporters outside a hotel after a night-long meeting. He said a solution to the crisis is expected to be found later in the day.Lobo also said that BJP MLAs have suggested the names of Vishwajit Rane and Pramod Sawant for the post. Earlier, Goa Forward Party (GFP) chief Vijai Sardesai, emerging from the meeting, had said that the parties were yet to reach a conclusion.
The meeting was inconclusive and "the BJP has informed them that they will get back later during the day," Sardesai had said.
He said the parties expressed apprehensions on how to proceed in the absence of Mr Parrikar. "We are expecting them to respond to our apprehensions soon," he added.
The GFP leader, however, said the party had not yet shut its doors on the BJP. Vijai Sardesai was accompanied by his MLAs, Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Palyekar, and Independents Rohan Khaunte, Govind Gawade and Prasad Gaonkar.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, Dhavalikar said that Gadkari held one-on-one meetings with the MLAs and asked them certain questions.
The MGP MLA added that Mr Gadkari had heard each of the MLAs individually and would soon announce a new leader.
Meanwhile, a Congress delegation submitted a fresh letter to governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday to form the government in Goa. The letter signed by opposition leader Chandrakant Kavlekar was submitted to Sinha's office Sunday evening and also sought an appointment with the governor to stake its claim to form the government in the state.
Congress MLAs gathered at Kavlekar's residence in Panaji to cobble the numbers. Amid a strong speculation that Margao MLA Digambar Kamat was going to resign and join BJP, he remained closeted with the Congress camp, according to a Times of India report.
Kamat reached Dabolim airport Sunday evening from Delhi amid rumours that he will become the next CM of Goa, however, he cleared that his visit was finalised three days ago and has nothing to with the speculations, the report said.With the death of Parrikar, the strength of 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly has been reduced to 36. BJP MLA Francis D'Souza died last month, while two Congress members had resigned last year.
(With inputs from agency)