Congress leader and former Goa CM Digambar Kamat. (File Photo)
Senior Congress leader and former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat on Sunday left for Delhi amid speculations that he may join the BJP to become the chief minister in wake of Manohar Parrikar’s deteriorating health. Although the Congress leader denied any such move, speculations were rife that he may be inducted into the BJP and given the chief minister’s post.
Kamat was second in command in the BJP till 2005 when he switched over to the Congress. The senior Congress leader, who held reigns of the state from 2007 to 2012, left for Delhi on Sunday. "I am leaving for Delhi on a business trip. It is purely personal," Kamat said before boarding the flight to Delhi from the Goa airport.
However, Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo confirmed that Kamat's name was indeed discussed during the BJP MLAs meeting but said that a final decision will be taken by the central leadership. "Last evening, at BJP MLAs meeting, a discussion was held over Digambar Kamat joining BJP. The decision on whether he will be the CM will be taken by the central leadership," ANI quoted Lobo as saying.
Meanwhile, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar accused the BJP of spreading rumours about Kamat. “This is a game plan of the BJP’s dirty tricks department which is spreading rumours to malign the image of Kamat and the Congress,” he said.
Chodankar also alleged that the BJP was trying to scare its own alliance partners with such speculations. “Kamat is very much in the Congress and he will continue with the party,” he added.
On Saturday, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar wrote to Governor Mridula Sinha asking her to dismiss the BJP-led state government and invite the Congress, which is the single largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly, to form the government.
"Consequent upon the sad demise of Francis D'Souza, MLA, who belonged to the BJP, it is humbly submitted that the incumbent BJP-led state government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, which has long lost the trust of the people and now also lost strength in the House," Kavlekar said in a letter to the Governor.
"It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to dismiss the state government led by the BJP to ensure that the Indian National Congress, which is the single-largest party in the House and is presently enjoying the majority, be called to form government," he said.
Currently, the Congress has 14 MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly, while the BJP has 13 lawmakers. The BJP government has the backing of the Goa Forward Party and MGP. Both parties have three MLAs each. After D'Souza's demise, three Assembly seats in Goa remain vacant.