Goa Agriculture Minister Vijay Sardesai criticised the Congress for making an issue out of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s absence, and maintained that the state administration was being run smoothly.
He claimed the Congress was trying to use Parrikar’s absence from Goa as an opportunity to revive itself, after failing to come to power in the coastal state following the Assembly elections last year.
Parrikar, 62, is currently undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment in a hospital in the US.
He has been in USA since March and will return home by the end of this month, a state minister had said last week.
In Parrikar’s absence, a three-member advisory committee comprising cabinet ministers is looking into the day-to-day affairs of the state.
Sardesai, whose Goa Forward Party is an alliance partner in BJP-led government, said Parrikar has been monitoring the state administration’s functioning from the US.
“I don’t think anybody is affected with the chief minister’s absence. He has been monitoring the administration in Goa from USA on a daily basis,” he said.
“The Congress has to make some issue. Therefore, it is using this as an opportunity to revive the party,” he said.
The Goa Congress had last month demanded the appointment of a “full-time” chief minister for the coastal state in the absence Parrikar, and staged a demonstration here in support of the demand.
Sardesai said it was unfortunate that Parrikar was suffering from a health issue for which he had to go abroad.
“But he has made the stop-gap arrangement in the form of the Cabinet Advisory Committee (CAC), which is working very well,” he said.
To a question on the recent remarks by state minister Sudin Dhavalikar that he is “mentally prepared” to take reins of the state in Parrikar’s absence, Sardesai said, “There is no question of anybody (other than Parrikar) being the chief minister.”
The CAC is a stop-gap arrangement and “Parrikar is very much in command of the state’s affairs,” he asserted.
Dhavalikar, whose Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is also an ally of the BJP in Goa, is the senior most minister in the state government.
He is also part of the CAC set up by Parrikar.
The GFP and the MGP have three MLAs each in the Goa Assembly. Apart from these two parties, three Independents are also supporting the BJP-led state government.