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Goa Elections 2017: Manohar Parrikar ducks queries on his possible return as CM

“Let us cross the bridge when it comes,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday, as he parried questions on his possible return as Chief Minister of Goa if BJP wins the Assembly polls, a day after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s remarks on the issue set off speculation.

“I can only say that let us cross the bridge when it comes. (Nitin) Gadkariji has said what we wanted to say,” Parrikar told reporters when asked whether he will be back in the state as Chief Minister after Goa polls.

Parrikar made the remarks when he accompanied BJP candidate Siddharth Kuncolienkar for filing his nomination papers from Panaji constituency.

The constituency was earlier represented by Parrikar, a former chief minister, till he was elevated to the Central cabinet after 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Gadkari while addressing a press conference on Thursday had said that the next chief minister would be decided in a democratic way by the elected representatives. “This leader can either be from the elected representatives or we can even send (someone) from the Centre,” he had told reporters, setting off intense political speculation.

Parrikar and his Cabinet colleague Sripad Naik hail from the coastal state, but despite repeated queries, Gadkari had on Thursday declined to reveal if he was hinting at one of them.

Naik on his part said he was willing to head a government in his home state if the party asked him to do so. However, he made it clear that neither he nor Parrikar has asked the party to nominate them as chief ministerial candidate for the state Assembly elections.

Naik represents North Goa seat in Lok Sabha. “I have not asked for it. Also, Manohar Parrikar has not asked for it,” the AYUSH Minister said when asked about Gadkari’s remarks.

Naik said, “If the party gives responsibility, I am ready to take up the post of Goa chief minister. As you know, we (I and Parrikar) are disciplined soldiers of the party. We will take up any responsibility assigned by the party. But we have not asked for the post.”

He said what Gadkari meant was “options are open. There might be a situation wherein incumbent chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar may continue to be on the chair if he is selected by elected representatives.”

The BJP, which had won 21 of the 40 seats in the state in 2012, on Thursday released the first list of candidates for the February 4 Assembly elections in the coastal state. Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar was among the candidates.