Former Goa unit RSS chief Subhash Velingkar has alleged that the BJP high command is pressuring Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to continue in the post despite his ill health, to retain power in the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, rubbished his charge, saying Parrikar was not being forced to continue as the chief minister and that his health condition was improving.
Velingkar demanded that the state government give an update on the chief minister's health.
"They (government) are fooling people. Parrikar needs proper rest. Unfortunately, theBJP high command in Delhi wants to retain power in Goa, that is why they are not allowing him to rest. They are power hungry," he alleged.
He was talking to reporters Wednesday evening after addressing a meeting of his supporters in Mandrem Assembly constituency, where a bypoll is due after Dayanand Sopte, who had won from there last year, resigned and joined the BJP.
Velingkar was ousted from the post of the Goa Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief in 2016 after his critical comments against Parrikar.
Later, he formed a political outfit called the Goa Suraksha Manch, which fought against the BJP in the state Assembly polls held last year.
Velingkar said the state government should have appointed another person as the chief minister till Parrikar recovered from illness.
"I feel this government will be dissolved and the Goa Assembly elections would be held along with the Lok Sabha polls," he said. He said the BJP was "no more a party of ideology".
"The elected representatives don't have anything to do with the party's ideology. They have imported leaders from other parties. The loyal cadre is disturbed. In the next election, the BJP will be completely wiped out from the state," he claimed.
When contacted, BJP Goa unit chief Vinay Tendulkar said there is no issue of the party high command forcing Parrikar to continue in the chair.
"His health condition is improving now and he will resume office in November," he said.
Dismissing Velingkar's claims that BJP leaders were not following the party's ideology, Tendulkar said, "Whosoever is in the party is because he/she believes in our ideology."
Parrikar's poor health has sparked speculation over his continuation as the chief minister of Goa, and Amit Shah had recently sent a central party leaders team to the coastal state to speak to allies and take stock of political situation.
The opposition Congress, which is the single largest party in the state, has also staked claim to form a government. The BJP has asserted that its government continues to have the support of a majority of MLAs.
Parrikar, 62, was admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on September 15 for a pancreatic ailment.
In Goa, BJP has 14 MLAs in the 40-member Assembly, is ruling the state with the help of the MGP, the GFP, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and three Independents. GFP and MGP have three seats each and NCP has one.
(With inputs from PTI)