The BJP will send a team to Goa on Monday to “explore alternatives” as Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s health remains worrying, sources have told NDTV. Mr Parrikar is believed to have spoken to BJP chief Amit Shah to discuss the move. Mr Parrikar, 62, has been unwell for months and is believed to have expressed his inability to work normally, sources said.
According to sources, the central team that will visit Goa on Monday will include Ram Lal and BL Santosh. They will work towards identifying a “stand-in” for Mr Parrikar till there is greater clarity on his health, sources said. The Goa unit of BJP too held a meeting of its state-level core committee on Friday and later met Mr Parrikar.
Political observers say it will not be easy for the BJP to find a replacement for Mr Parrikar, by far the party’s tallest leader from Goa. After state elections last year, Mr Parrikar had to be relieved from his position as Defence Minister so that he could cement a delicate coalition as Chief Minister.
But his worsening health has subjected the BJP to attacks from the opposition Congress which won more seats but failed to stitch an alliance with enough numbers in the assembly.
The Congress has alleged that administration had “collapsed” due to Mr Parrikar’s absence, and demanded that the BJP-led state government be dismissed and President’s rule be imposed. The BJP’s defence has included explanations like Mr Parrikar’s presence in the US was more useful for governing Goa because of a 12-hour time difference.
Mr Parrikar had undergone treatment in the US for nearly three months earlier this year. After returning in June, he flew to the US again on August for what was described as a follow-up, and returned to Panaji on August 22.
But he had to be rushed to Mumbai the next day and was admitted to a private hospital. From there, he flew to the US for treatment for a third time on August 30.
During his three-month-long treatment in the US, Mr Parrikar had formed a Cabinet Advisory Committee of ministers Sudin Dhavalikar, Francis D’Souza and Vijai Sardesai to look after governance.
No such committee was formed during his second and third visit to the US, but instead he delegated powers to the Chief Secretary to handle important issues.
(With inputs from PTI)