BJP Manages a Respite, But for How Long?

The Bharatiya Janata Party has managed to name a leader as the new chief minister of Goa. This must come as a big respite to the party still recovering from the loss of Manohar Parrikar. However, given the wafer thin majority the party enjoys in the state, it will be a herculean task for the party to continue in the saddle for long.

Pramod Sawant willl be the new CM of Goa, BJP signalled on Monday. Two MLAs from the BJP alliance partners will be made deputy chief ministers as part of the compromise reached with allies, according to the party sources.

Manohar Parrikar died Sunday after a prolonged illness and suffering from pancreas cancer. The tiny state of Goa witnessed a deadlock as the demise of Parrikar left a big void in the state politics. However, the party managed to break the ice by offering key allies their pound of flesh and accepting their demand for deputy CM’s posts. Sawant, 45 years old,  is currently the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly.

There are strong indications that the two would-be Dy CMs are Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai and MGP MLA Sudin Dhavalikar. “We have managed to convince the alliance partners and finalised the formula of two deputy chief ministers for the state, a senior BJP functionary told PTI.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari held marathon discussions with his party MLAs and alliance partner regional parties such as Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party to choose the successor of Parrikar. He had told the reporters in Panaji that a decision would be announced soon. BJP national secretary B L Santosh is also helping him. Gadkari, along with BJP president Amit Shah, held a series of meetings with party MLAs and also of coalition partners to pick a new CM.
The BJP-led Goa government is supported by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Goa Forward Party (GFP), independents and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Following the demise of Manohar Parrikar, the strength of the Goa assembly reduced to 36 members. In the 40-member house, three seats had earlier fallen vacant following the resignation of Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar, and death of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza. By-polls to these three constituencies are scheduled alongside Lok Sabha elections on April 23rd. Currently, the BJP has 12 MLAs in the house, while the Congress has 14. The Congress has already staked claim for the formation of the government. The party leaders met Governor Mrudula Sinha and handed her letter of support. 

Thus, even if the BJP manages to install Sawant as CM, he will still face constant threat of being dismantled by opposition Congress and dissidents. Therefore, the drama will only get interesting in coming days.