Kamat may join BJP, succeed Parrikar as Goa CM

Digambar Kamat Goa

Panaji, March 17 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators on Sunday discussed during a meeting at the state headquarters of the many options the possibility of former Chief Minister and Congress MLA Digambar Kamat joining the BJP and taking over from Manohar Parrikar, Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said.

“Digambar (Kamat) has gone to Delhi to join the BJP. He has no other business there,” Lobo said.

Kamat created a buzz in the political circles here after he left for Delhi early Sunday. The visit, Kamat told reporters at the Dabolim International Airport, was for a “private purposes.”

Another BJP MLA said Kamat, who like Parrikar belonged to the influential Gaur Saraswat Brahmin caste, could be the front-runner for chief ministership if he decided to make the political switch as there was no clear candidate in the BJP ranks to succeed Parrikar.

“Our party is in talks with Kamat. But his exit from the Congress has not been finalised yet. He has worked with the BJP leadership before and the transition should not be an issue,” the BJP MLA said.

At the BJP legislators’ meeting, the suggestion to induct Kamat was met with mixed response, with some opposing and others supporting it.

However, Congress leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said Kamat was a senior member of the party and had sought permission before leaving for Delhi on a private visit.

“There is no doubt about Kamat’s commitment to the party. He will stay with the Congress,” Kavlekar said.

The Goa BJP is scouting for successor to Chief Minister Parrikar who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer. His health has reportedly worsened over the last 48 hours, according to some BJP MLAs.

Kamat once served as a Minister in the Parrikar-led cabinet in 2000, but he quit the party subsequently to join the Congress, claiming that he was feeling suffocated in the BJP.

In 2007, he served as the Chief Minister of a Congress-led coalition government. Kamat is also being probed in the multi-million dollar illegal mining scam as well as the Louis Berger consultancy scam, in which a former Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao has already been arrested.

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