Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai Friday said there was no question of replacing ailing Manohar Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister.
Sardesai is Agriculture minister in the Parrikar cabinet.
Parrikar, 62, has been undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment for several months now and arrived in the state on October 14 post hospitalisation at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.
While the ruling BJP has maintained that Parrikar has been looking after the affairs of governance even as he undergoes treatment, the state’s opposition parties, and occasionally allies in the state government, have alleged that his health-related absence was bringing the administration to a standstill.
Sardesai Friday told PTI he met Manohar Parrikar on November 28.
“I had met the CM while coming back from the closing ceremony function of IFFI (International Film Festival of India) (on November 28). He is fine. Where is the question of replacing him?” Sardesai said.
Sardesai had last week suggested that the ailing chief minister, Manohar Parrikar, wanted to resign, but the BJP high command vetoed it.
“He wanted to give up the CM’s post altogether. He had even shown an inclination to give away his portfolios (to other ministers) when he was admitted to a hospital during Ganesh Chaturthi festival,” Sardesai said in Panaji.
“But then several things happened. BJP high command stepped in….it (to resign or not) is not in his (Parrikar’s) hands entirely,” Sardesai told reporters.
Asked about independent MLA and Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte’s remark that the administration has become sluggish in Parrikar’s absence, Sardesai said, “I have always been saying that CM’s ill-health has had some sort of impact, and it is showing.”
Union Minister Shripad Naik had earlier said that a change in leadership in Goa was a “requirement” “today or tomorrow” considering the health of Parrikar.
While there has been periodic talk about a change in leadership in the state, the BJP has consistently ruled it out.
Goa BJP President Vinay Tendulkar had last month said that ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will not resign as the head of the BJP-led coalition government, ruling out “rumours” that the former Defence Minister was likely to step down from his post due to ill-health.
Parrikar’s absence from office due to health reasons has triggered a political upheaval in Goa, with ruling allies stepping up pressure on the BJP to shed some of the top portfolios currently held by the Chief Minister.
The Congress has also demanded that due to Parrikar’s ill-health, the state administration had come to a standstill and has demanded that Governor Mridula Sinha should dismiss the government.
Hundreds of people, including some Congress leaders, on November 20 marched to the private residence of ailing Manohar Parrikar, demanding his resignation, and a “full-time” chief minister in his place.
The people, who came together under the banner of ‘People’s March For Restoration of Governance’, marched for about 1 km, and gave an “ultimatum” of 48 hours to Manohar Parrikar to step down as the chief minister.
(With PTI inputs)