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Union minister Nitin Gadkari arriving at a Dona Paula-based hotel for a meeting with BJP leaders and alliance partners Sunday evening

No consensus on new leader to lead state govt

PANAJI: Consultations for electing a new leader to lead the state government were going on till the time of going to press with the ruling coalition not being able to decide on a name Sunday night even as meetings of Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs as well as the alliance partners were underway.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari and General Secretary of BJP B L Santosh arrived late night in the state and were seen consulting the party MLAs and alliance partners to decide on a new leader.

Earlier, legislators of the alliance partners – Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Forward Party, two Independents and two BJP legislators held a meeting at Dona Paula in the presence of organisational general secretary of BJP Satish Dhond.

President of Goa BJP unit Vinay Tendulkar told media outside a city hotel that they will decide on the chief ministerial candidate after consulting alliance partners till late night.

Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Michael Lobo said that meetings are on to decide on a new leader. He added that the swearing in of the new government should take place by 9.30 am on Monday.

The BJP MLAs were waiting for Gadkari at a city hotel since 10 pm. However, the venue of the meeting was shifted to a Dona Paula-based hotel at 1 am.

Goa Forward Party’s all three MLAs led by chief Vijai Sardesai, MGP’s three MLAs led by legislator wing leader Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, Satish Dhond, MLA Michael Lobo, MLA Vishwajit Rane, Independent MLAs Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gawade earlier participated in a meeting.

Dhavalikar said that all the alliance partners will meet Gadkari when he arrives in the state. When asked about leadership, he said that nothing has been decided and added that we will meet Gadkari and then decide about the issues.

Sardesai said that the decision about the next leader would be taken after all the coalition partners meet. “Everyone wants this government to survive, no one wants dissolution or suspended animation,” he reiterated, adding that there has been a suggestion to make one of the non-MLAs the next Goa chief minister which, he said, is also being considered. When asked whether coalition partners will continue with their support, Sardesai said that no one should be taken for granted.

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