In a first, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has called a cabinet meeting at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, where he is undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment. This is the first official meeting called by Mr Parrikar since he was admitted to AIIMS on September 15.
Mr Parrikar is expected to discuss matters in connection with the state’s governance with ministers and alliance partners, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP). Sources say, the chief minister is also likely to discuss portfolios to be assigned to the allies.
MGP leader and PWD minister Sudin Dhavalikar, GFP leader and town planning minister Vijai Sardesai, revenue minister Rohan Khaunte and minister of art and culture Govind Gawade have been invited to the meeting. Independent lawmaker Prasad Gaonkar, who is supporting the BJP-led Goa alliance is also expected to attend today’s meeting, said sources in the BJP.
“I have been invited for the meeting with the chief minister in Delhi on October 12. I don’t know who else is invited,” Mr Gawade told news agency PTI, adding that he has not been informed about the agenda.
The opposition in Goa has raised questions over the stability of the government because of Mr Parrikar’s illness. All 16 Congress legislators in Goa assembly met Governor Mridula Sinha on September 19 and demanded a floor test by the BJP-led government, after the 62-year-old Chief Minister was admitted to AIIMS. On the same day, BJP president Amit Shah met party leaders in Goa to work out a plan and prevent any political crisis after the opposition Congress staked claim to power. The BJP chief said, Mr Parrikar will remain the chief minister but a cabinet reshuffle is likely soon.
Goa Deputy Speaker and BJP lawmaker Michael Lobo told news agency PTI last Friday that the state administration has “totally collapsed” because of the absence of Mr Parrikar. Key ally MGP dismissed questions over the stability of Parrikar government but said his party is ready to face mid-term polls in case the Assembly is dissolved.
The BJP, which has 14 lawmakers in the 40-member Assembly, is governing the state with the help of the MGP, the GFP, the NCP and three Independents. The Congress has 16 lawmakers in the Goa assembly.
(With inputs from PTI)