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Leadership in Goa will not change till Parrikar is there: Speaker Michael Lobo

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Panaji, Mar 16: The BJP on Saturday held an urgent meeting of its Goa MLAs after the Congress staked a claim to form government in the coastal state. After the meeting, BJP MLA and Speaker of the Goa Assembly Michael Lobo said that leadership in Goa will not change.

Goa Assembly Speaker Michael Lobo

The Congress earlier today staked a claim to form government and wrote to Governor urging dismissal of the BJP-led government in the coastal state. The Congress, in the letter to Governor, asserted that it was the 'single largest party' in the state, adding that the current Manohar Parrikar led government is in 'minority'.

"Emergency meeting was held as Parrikar Ji got really ill last night. Doctors are seeing him and not saying that he will recover. By-polls are also near in 3 constituencies and the meeting was also to finalise the candidature..Till Parrikar is here, only he will remain the Chief Minister and no one has made the demand to replace him. We are praying that he gets well, but there are no chances, he is very ill. But if anything happens to him, new CM will be from BJP," Lobo said.

Goa minister Vijai Sardesai on March 16 met Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and said his health had "deteriorated", but he was "stable". Sardesai, along with five Goa MLAs, met Parrikar at his private residence.

[Congress stakes claim to form govt in Goa, BJP holds urgent meeting]

Currently, the strength of the Goa legislative assembly stands at 37 with 14 MLAs of Congress, 13 of BJP, three each of Goa Forward Party and MGP, three independents and a lone NCP MLA. 
The Congress was the single largest party with 17 MLAs when the election results were declared in February 2017. But since then, three Congress MLAs joined the BJP.

"Consequent upon the sad demise of Francis D' Souza, MLA who was belonging to the BJP, it is humbly submitted that the incumbent BJP-led State government under the leadership of Shri Manohar Parrikar which has long lost the trust of the people has also lost the strength of the House. Also we anticipate that the numbers of the BJP may further dwindle thus not allowing such a party in minority to continue even for a moment," the letter to the Governor said

The vacancies in the Goa Assembly were created following the demise of Mapusa MLA and former deputy chief minister Francis D' Souza last month, and after Mandrem MLA Dayanand Sopte and Shiroda MLA Subhash Shirodkar quit Congress to join BJP. 

The claim to form the government comes at a time when reports have indicated that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's health has taken a turn for the worse. Besides the ailing Parrikar, another BJP MLA Pandurang Madkaikar is unwell and hasn't been seen since he suffered a stroke in June last year, said reports.

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