Post polls, Goa could see a central leader as CM: Gadkari

Panaji, Jan 12 (IANS) In a surprising development, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that after the Goa assembly elections, the BJP could make a central leader the state’s Chief Minister if the party’s elected legislators agree.

The Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping told reporters at a press conference here that the proposal to bring a central leader back to the state politics as the Chief Minister has been discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) President Amit Shah.

Currently, there are two ministers from Goa in the National Democratic Alliance government — Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik.

Reacting to Gadkari’s statement, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the announcement was a result of a nervousness within the BJP due to the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes.

Speaking in the presence of Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Shripad Naik, Gadkari said: “We are confident that we will win more seats than the last time and form our own government.”

“Our elected MLAs will elect a new leader and it’s not necessary that this leader will be from among the MLAs only. We could send him from the Centre, too. But we will do it in a democratic manner.”

Gadkari said the February 4 polls are being contested under the leadership of Parrikar, Parsekar, Naik and state BJP President Vinay Tendulkar, but refused to say which central leader could be brought back to the state as the Chief Minister if the BJP wins the upcoming polls.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has been accused by opposition parties of repeatedly interfering in the state politics and spending more time in Goa than in Delhi.

Naik, in the recent times, has courted controversy when he accused the state BJP leadership of betraying its principles and accommodating corrupt Congress leaders into its fold and fielding them as party candidates.

“After the elections, the elected MLAs will elect a new leader…but in a democratic manner. The new leader could be selected from the current lot of the MLAs or the party will bring in another leader from Delhi with the agreement of elected leaders,” said Gadkari.

“The MLAs could also choose Laxmikant Parsekar…this can also happen. I am not ruling out any possibility,” he added.

Reacting to the development, AAP’s National Convener Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, suggesting that the BJP has developed cold feet.

“BJP nervous with Elvis candidature. Parsekar no comparison. BJP forced to remove Parsekar. Big victory for Goans against corrupt politics,” Kejriwal said in his tweet.

The BJP is contesting around 36 out of the 40 seats in the upcoming state assembly elections. Party leaders said in the remaining three-four constituencies, mostly minority-dominated ones, the party could tie up with Independent candidates.

–IANS

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