Recently appointed Desk-in-Charge Avinash Rai Khanna today said his party and the government led by it in Goa are “doing well” under the leadership of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, even though he is in the USA for medical treatment.
Parrikar (62) is suffering from a pancreatic ailment and is undergoing treatment at a hospital in the USA, where he was admitted in the first week of March.
“Ours is a cadre-based party and Manohar Parrikar is the undisputed leader of the masses (in Goa). Even though he is not physically present in the state, the party and the government under his leadership are doing well,” BJP national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna told media.
Parrikar is responding well to the treatment and will be back in the state soon, said Khanna, who was last week appointed in-charge of the BJP in Goa, where the saffron party is heading a coalition government.
“It is natural for anyone to fall ill. Parrikar is responding well to the treatment and will be back in the state soon to take over the reins of Goa. But even in his absence the state government and the party are working under his advice and guidance.
“He may not be physically present in the state but he is always available whenever the party leaders in Goa want him,” the BJP leader said.
Khanna claimed that the BJP has a strong base in the coastal state and will win both the Lok Sabha seats when elections are held.
“The BJP has a strong base in Goa. We have implemented several welfare schemes. It would not be difficult for our candidates to win both the seats in Goa in the next Lok Sabha elections,” he said.
Asked whether both the BJP MPs Shripad Naik from North Goa and Narendra Sawaikar from South Goa would be renominated for the next general elections, Khanna said the party will follow due procedure before announcing its candidates.
“There is a system in the party which has to be followed. Even if we are retaining candidates, we follow the system in which the State Election Committee recommends names to the central leadership and then the Parliamentary Board takes the final decision,” he said.
Asked whether the BJP expects support from the coalition members in the Lok Sabha polls, Khanna replied in the affirmative.
“The party hopes they (allies in Goa) will extend support. But in the past we have fought elections on our own and won. We will be happy if coalition partners support our candidates.”