A key ally of the ruling BJP in Goa said on Monday that the government in the state should continue "with or without" the ailing Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister.
The remarks came on a day the BJP legislature party met without Parrikar, after which the state unit president Vinay Tendulkar ruled out change of the chief minister.
Parrikar returned to his home state on Sunday night after being discharged from Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he was admitted for a pancreatic ailment since September 15.
The 62-year-old leader is now undergoing treatment at his private residence at Dona Paula near here, where a team of doctors from the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) have set up make-shift medical facility.
"The chief minister is recovering now. He will take rest for two days, before meeting party office-bearers and government officials," Tendulkar said after the meeting of the BJP legislature party.
Tendulkar, along with BJP's state general secretary Sadanand Tanavade, also met Parrikar on Monday at the latter's residence.
Queried about a change of leadership in the state, the state BJP president shot back, saying, "Why do you need a leadership change? The CM is for five years."
Earlier, Goa Forward Party (GFP) president and Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said BJP chief Amit Shah called him Sunday afternoon to discuss the political situation in Goa.
"Amit Shah spoke to me and I have said no to mid-term polls. With or without Manohar Parrikar as the chief minister, this government should continue," Sardesai told PTI.
In the 40-member Goa Assembly, the Parrikar government has the support of 23 MLAs. These comprise 14 BJP MLAs, three each from the GFP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) as well as three Independents.
Sardesai said the BJP had given a commitment when the coalition was formed in Goa after assembly polls in March 2017 that the government headed by Parrikar would continue for five years.
"We also want the same," the GFP leader said.
"In the wake of our commitment to this government, the onus is on the BJP high command to fulfil their commitment and see that the government completes its tenure," he said.
"If they (BJP) want, they can go for dissolution but not going for dissolution (of the Assembly) will prove they keep their word. The people of Goa are watching them," Sardesai said.
Independent MLA and civil supplies minister Govind Gawade, who is supporting the Parrikar-led coalition, said the chief minister should have stayed back at AIIMS for some more time and fully recovered before returning to Goa.
"But we welcome him back. Goa was missing its leader," he added.
On Friday last, Parrikar met Goa BJP's core committee members and ministers from coalition partners at the AIIMS to discuss ways to ensure that his government functions normally during his absence from office due to ill health.
In the morning, the Chief Minister's Office issued a statement, claiming that Parrikar would rest for a week.
"CM Manohar Parrikar's condition has improved further. He had a chat with his family members today morning. Doctors have advised him to take rest for a week's time," read the statement issued by Rupesh Kamat, personal secretary to Parrikar.
Meanwhile, the Congress, which is the single largest party in Goa with 16 seats, petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday, urging him to ensure that the state Assembly is not dissolved by "foul play".
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar referred to the opposition party's earlier pleas to Governor Mridula Sinha about staking claim to form government in the state.
He said it was imperative that the President issues instructions and guides the governor, so that there is no constitutional over-reach to seek dissolution of the Assembly.