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There has been speculation that the BJP could be looking at making alternative arrangements to run Goa.

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, a key member of the BJP-led coalition government on Saturday advised its senior partner to place someone in charge of Goa.

“For the last eight months Goans are suffering. Somebody needs to be in charge in Goa,” MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar told HT, hours after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was flown to the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital for treatment

Parrikar had returned to Goa on September 6 after his third visit to the USA and had to be, almost immediately, admitted again at a private hospital in north Goa’s Candolim village, 10 km from here.

There has been speculation that the BJP could be looking at making alternative arrangements to run the state known as a beach and nightlife tourism destination.

BJP president Amit Shah didn’t comment on the party’s plans for Goa.

“For now, we only wish Parrikar a speedy recovery. The party will take a decision at an appropriate time,” Shah said at a Press conference in Hyderabad, when asked if the Bharatiya Janata Party has taken a decision to find an alternative leader.

The BJP’s two alliance partners in Goa — the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the nascent Goa Forward Party – say it was for the BJP leadership to take the call as the senior and larger member of the alliance.

But MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar did come up with the seniority test.

“The charge needs to be given to somebody senior…. Let them (BJP) decide who it needs to be given to,” Dhavalikar said.

His brother, Sudin, is the senior-most minister in Parrikar’s team and would be entitled to get charge by this principle.

Goa Forward Party, another alliance partner, and independent Govind Gaude, who is also a minister, don’t favour the idea. Gaude defeated Deepak Dhavalikar in the elections last year.

Goa Forward’s supremo Vijai Sardesai said the MGP’s opinion alone didn’t matter; what mattered is a consensus. Its stance could throw the alliance into jeopardy.

Leadership is a sensitive issue in Goa; Parrikar is seen as the glue holding the BJP’s alliance together in Goa.

Two of the BJP’s allies, including Dhavalikar’s MGP, had made their joining the alliance in 2017 conditional on Parrikar leading the government.

The BJP has 14 MLAs and the two major alliance partners have three MLAs each in the 40-member house.

Parrikar had earlier made it known to the BJP leadership that he was open to his ministerial colleagues sharing his workload.

”He may keep one or two portfolios with himself but the rest he will redistribute. We have to hope for the best,” BJP lawmaker Michael Lobo told Hindustan Times.

The BJP’s situation is complicated by the fact that the senior-most BJP leader and former deputy chief minister under Parrikar,D’Souza, is also ailing and hospitalised in the US, the same facility where Parrikar was admitted earlier this year.

The chief minister, as has been his style of functioning keeps most of the portfolios with himself and currently has 52 portfolios.

Besides the main portfolios of Home and Finance, the chief minister also holds the crucial portfolios of mining, environment and forests. Besides his own, he was also officiating for two of his ailing cabinet colleagues; minister for urban development and law Francis D’Souza and electricity minister Pandurang Madkaikar.

A decision on allocation of the portfolios is expected only after Ram Lal, the BJP’s general secretary (organisation) and his deputy, visit the state over the weekend to reach out to party lawmakers and allies.

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