In Goa, due to CM Manohar Parrikar’s (prolonged) illness, the future of coalition government in the state has come into question. Currently, the incumbent CM of Goa is undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Delhi.
Some coalition partners of the ruling state government had refused to be part of any coalition without Manohar Parrikar at the helm of its affairs. In Goa, the incumbent CM is a one man army for the BJP. The saffron managed to form the government in the state only because of Manohar Parrikar. People of Goa gave a fractured mandate in 2017 state assembly elections. The BJP with 14 seats lacked adequate numbers to form the government in 40 members Goa legislative assembly. Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) with three seats, Goa Forward Party (GFP) also with three seats, three independent MLAs and one MLA of NCP extended their support on the condition that Manohar Parrikar would lead the state. They made it very clear that they are giving their support to Manohar Parrikar and not the BJP. Parrikar who was at that time serving as the Defence Minister of the country resigned, went back to his home state, and took oath as the CM of the state.
There are strong speculations that if the high command tried to install someone else as the CM of the state then the GFP and MGP would withdraw their support from the coalition and the BJP coalition government would collapse.
Not just Manohar Parrikar, two other ailing ministers Francis D’Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar were dropped from the Goa Cabinet. All the three BJP MLAs are undergoing treatment in hospitals so this reduces BJP’s tally to 11 and one member is Chairman of the Goa assembly so this takes their tally down to 10.
If the numbers of BJP’s coalition partners are included then the combined strength reaches only to 18 seats.
On the other hand, the Congress party has 16 MLAs, with the support of one independent and with one NCP MLA their combine strength is also of 18 seats. Last month, the Congress party staked the claim to form the alternative government in the state, alleging ‘breakdown’ of the administration ‘due to infighting within the ruling coalition’. There were reports that GFP is angry with the BJP to hand over the charge of government to the leader of MGP. The Congress is hoping that if the GFP along with its three members withdraw its support from the BJP and extend it to the Congress then they will succeed in forming the next coalition government in the state. Manohar Parrikar’s illness has heightened the excitement of the Congress to practice their traditional vulture politics.
The Goa Chief Minister has called his alliance partners for meeting at AIIMS on 12th October. A senior official in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in Panaji told PTI, “The alliance partners have been called for a meeting by the CM in Delhi on October 12 at AIIMS.” He also said that the incumbent CM would also discuss the ‘matters related to the state’s governance’. An independent MLA Govind Gawade who is supporting the BJP coalition said, “I have been invited for the meeting with the chief minister in Delhi on October 12. I don’t know who else is invited.” He further added that he has been not informed about meeting’s agenda. The upcoming meeting would be the first formal meeting chaired by Manohar Parrikar since his admission in AIIMS. According to reports, he is likely to allocate additional portfolios to his Cabinet ministers and there are chances that there would be a cabinet reshuffle also.
With an indomitable spirit characteristic of Parrikar, he is managing the crisis in the coalition despite being seriously ill and from a hospital bed in AIIMS he is keeping the administrative and governmental machinery working in the state. The spirit displayed by Manohar Parrikar shows that there is no governance or constitutional crisis in the state.
The members of the BJP and RSS strongly believe that it is the organization which makes the leader but in Goa’s case it is the leader who is providing fuel to the organization and the organization is running only because of the leader’s presence. In his complete absence, the organization would fall like a house of cards. Parrikar is the man behind BJP’s success and growth in the state. He is very popular for his work as the CM of the state. He gained nation-wide popularity during his term as the Defence Minister of the country, under him the Army carried out the surgical strike against Pakistani terrorists in PoK.
For the BJP, Manohar Parrikar’s health has been a major setback. His absence would harm party’s electoral prospect in 2019 general elections as well. Sometimes a single person, a single leader determines the fate of an entire nation and organization.