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Manohar Parrikar Meets Governor As Modi, Shah Greenlight His Return to Goa

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met the Goa Governor on Sunday, sending strong signals that may form the government in Goa with support from Independents and non-Congress parties.

Marya Shakil, Smitha Nairmaryashakil

Updated:March 12, 2017, 10:13 PM IST

New Delhi/Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met the Goa Governor on Sunday, sending strong signals that the BJP may form the government in Goa with support from Independents and non-Congress parties.

Parrikar met Governor Mridula Sinha in the evening but was yet to resign from the Union Cabinet.

Addressing a press conference in the evening, Gadkari said the BJP's parliamentary board, which includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, had "no objection" to Parrikar returning to the coastal state as the CM. Gadkari said Parrikar, a former Goa CM, too was willing to return to form the government.

In a short statement, Parrikar thanked the party's MLAs and the central leadership for backing him.

BJP sources said Shah had requested Gadkari to travel to Goa to hold talks on government formation. Sources said Gadkari reached at midnight and held talks with Independent MLAs till 3am on Sunday. He spoke to Modi and Shah in the morning and they gave a go-ahead for Parrikar to return to Goa.

ALSO READ | As Equations Change in Goa, Could Parrikar Upset Congress?

Earlier in the day, BJP leader Michael Lobo, who won from Calangute constituency, said BJP MLAs passed a resolution seeking party chief Amit Shah's nod to elect Parrikar as the state legislature party leader.

Sources in the BJP told CNN-News18 that it has received support from the Nationalist Congress Party (one seat), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak (3) and the Goa Forward Party (3). With seven seats from these three parties, the BJP, which won 13 seats, has 20 seats in hand. It will need the support of one of the three Independent MLAs to reach the majority mark of 21 in the 40-seat Assembly. Independent MLA Govind Gawade, who was backed by the party during the election from Priol constituency, is expected to back the BJP. The Congress has 17 seats.

Sources told CNN-News18 that the NCP, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party also want Parrikar back as Goa CM.

Outgoing CM Laxmikant Parsekar lost the election from Mandrem and had anyway not been projected as the CM face before elections. Party leaders had earlier indicated that Parrikar may return to Goa as the CM.

"The people want Parrikar to come back to Goa. Now it will depend on the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. If they support us, we will form the government in the state," BJP legislator Michael Lobo had told reporters outside party headquarters in Panaji earlier on Sunday.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading. "Go ahead if you (BJP) have the support of more than 21 (MLAs). We are ready to sit in Opposition, but it's a coup against people's mandate," he said.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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