Panaji, Mar 18: Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Monday held talks here with party leaders and alliance partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) to select a new Goa chief minister following the death of Manohar Parrikar. The BJP-led coalition in Goa began discussions on Sunday night to find a new leader to replace Parrikar, who had died earlier in the evening.
Parrikar, 63, was heading a coalition government comprising the BJP, the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the MGP and Independents. Gadkari arrived in the coastal state past midnight and resumed the talks with leaders of the BJP and MGP at a hotel near Panaji in the morning. BJP MLA Vishwajit Rane, MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar, who are aspirants for the chief minister's post, attended the meeting.
A third contender, Pramod Sawant, who is currently the speaker, was not present. Leaders of the GFP were not called for the meeting. Dhavalikar said clarity on the leadership issue was expected by 3 pm. The Congress is the single largest party in the state with 14 MLAs. The BJP has 12 legislators in the 40-member Goa assembly. The GFP, MGP and Independents have three MLAs each while the NCP has one legislator.