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Gadkari keeps suspense over BJP’s CM face in Goa

Panaji: Exuding confidence about the BJP retaining power in Goa with a “bigger majority” after the upcoming Assembly polls, Union minister Nitin Gadkari today said the next chief minister could either be from the elected MLAs or a central party leader may take over the post.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, and his Cabinet colleague Sripad Naik hail from the coastal state, but despite repeated queries, Gadkari declined to reveal if he was hinting at one of them.

“The second list of BJP candidates would be announced in the next two days. I am confident that we will get more seats than the last election. We will form the government. The elected representatives will elect their leader (the chief minister). This leader can either be from the elected representatives or we can even send (someone) from the Centre.

“But, the next chief minister would be decided in a democratic way by the elected representatives,” he told a press conference here.

The BJP, which had won 21 of the 40 seats in the state in 2012, today released the first list of candidates for the February 4 Assembly election in the coastal state.

Asked which central leader could be shifted to Goa, Gadkari said, “There is no scarcity of leaders. The elected representatives will decide who their leader would be.”

When specifically asked whether Parrikar or Naik (the MP from North Goa) would be brought in as the chief minister, the former BJP chief said, “Anyone selected by the MLAs can become the leader…Even from the Centre.

“This election is being fought under the leaderships of Manohar Parrikar, (Chief Minister) Laxmikant Parsekar, Sripad Naik and Vinay Tendulkar (Goa BJP chief).”

Responding to another query, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping said, “We are not confusing the Goan voters. We have only kept our options open. I am simply talking about a possibility.”

Talking about the Goa polls, Gadkari said political stability was of utmost concern in the state which, in the past, has seen switching of sides by MLAs and chief ministers getting unseated mid-way.

“Goa has witnessed instability in the past. Goa governments were made unstable by a few legislators. Even for this election, many parties contesting the polls will not be able to form the government on their own.

“If they get a chance (to form government), Goa would once again face political instability. Only BJP can give it a stable government,” he said.