The Goa unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that it wants Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar back as the chief minister of the state. All legislators have already signed a resolution with regard to the matter and sent it to the party's top brass.
The move comes after neither the BJP nor the Congress managed to cross the halfway mark of 21 seats in the recently concluded Goa Assembly elections in order to form government in the state. Parrikar was the chief minister of Goa before he left the job to serve the country as the defence minister.
However, the decision could have also been taken after the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which had formed a grand alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) ahead of the polls, said that they would support the BJP only if Parrikar returned to the state as its chief minister. According to India Today, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has already flown to Panaji to hold discussions with the Goa unit of the BJP.
Support from MGP and GFP:
The channel also quoted BJP sources as saying that the party would stake claim to form government in the state on Monday (March 13). They also claimed to have got the support of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the MGP, both of which have three MLAs each. Sources added that the three Independent MLAs who won in the elections were also ready to extend support to the BJP. If these nine MLAs support BJP, it will be able to cross the halfway mark of 21 seats in the Goa Assembly. The party won 13 seats in the polls.
MGP leader Sudin Dhawalikar said: "We have passed a resolution to support the BJP only if Manohar Parrikar is made the Chief Minister. We have written a letter to (BJP president) Amit Shah to consider our request. I have also spoken to Goa Forward Party and they too will support if Parrikar is made the Chief Minister. The NCP too is willing to join us." He added that non-Congress candidates are also ready to support BJP if Parrikar returns as CM.
Michael Lobo, BJP candidate from Calangute, told India Today that both GFP and MGP want Parrikar as the state's chief minister. However, a formal announcement is still awaited.
Is BJP considering making Parrikar the CM of Goa again?
BJP president Amit Shah, at a press conference in Delhi, had announced that BJP would form government in Goa despite the fact that counting was still underway with Congress in the lead. The BJP also did not cross the halfway mark of 21 seats in the 40-seat Assembly.
When the final results were declared, the Congress had won 17 seats followed by the BJP which had won 13 seats. However, Shah still declared that the party was in a position to form government in the state. The MGP, GFP and the Independent MLAs have said that support to the BJP would be provided only if Parrikar came back as CM.
Parrikar has always enjoyed strong support in Goa whereas his successor Laxmikant Parsekar was always the weaker candidate. Also, the MGP was in alliance with the BJP when Parrikar was the CM of Goa. Both parties worked together peacefully during Parrikar's tenure.
Therefore, one can't help but think that the BJP has a plan for Goa after all and it might just include sending Parrikar back to the state as its CM.
What Parrikar said after the results came out
Parrikar, after the results were announced on Saturday night, had said: "In the situation of a fractured mandate, everyone is in the run to form the government. We are also there. If the BJP acts like a core group and brings together smaller parties, we can still give a stable government."
He added: "BJP is in the best position to form the government. I am confident of getting necessary support."
When asked whether he would be willing to return to Goa as its chief minister, Parrikar was quoted by India Today as saying: "I have lost 4 kg in Delhi because of the food. I like Goan food. You can interpret this the way you want."