Goa Chief Minister and former defence minister of India Manohar Parrikar passed away on Sunday after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader had been ailing since February and had been treated in various hospitals in Goa, Mumbai and the US. He was 63.
He had returned to Goa on October 14 last year after he was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi for a month. Parrikar had been undergoing treatment at his residence in Panaji ever since. Goa CM had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.
The news comes a day after Goa Assembly Deputy Speaker BJP MLA from Calagunte Michael Lobo on Saturday said there are no chances of Parrikar’s health improving. However, a group of six MLAs from BJP’s coalition partners in the government said they met Parrikar at his residence, adding his condition was stable as of Sunday.
Among those who visited Parrikar’s residence include Goa Forward Party’s Vijai Sardesai, Jayesh Salgaonkar, Vinod Palyekar and Independents – Rohan Khaunte, Govind Gawade and Prasad Gaonkar.
The senior BJP leader’s absence due to his ill health had created a leadership vacuum in the state, with the coalition partners of the BJP fighting amongst themselves for the top post. However, the BJP had insisted that Parrikar would continue to helm the government in the state. Reports claimed that the top leadership of the BJP was finding it difficult to find an acceptable successor to replace Parrikar as the CM.
Amidst the uncertainty over Parrikar’s return to the state as he underwent treatment for a long period of time, the Congress had demanded that they be allowed to prove majority in the state and that Parrikar should step down from the post.
The BJP-led government has the support of 23 MLAs in the state in the 40-member Goa Assembly. The allies included 14 BJP MLAs, three each from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Forward Party and also three independents.