**Panaji: ** The Congress on Monday said that ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has not been seen in public since October 14, may be no more, drawing a sharp rebuttal from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Yes, we are taking that call. It is an extreme call that the honourable Chief Minister may not be there at all,” Congress spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu told the media here.
Parrikar has not had a single public appearance since his return from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on October 14 and is currently bedridden at his private residence, which party sources said has been converted into a sophisticated medical facility, with doctors and para-medical staff on 24-hour duty.
The Congress alleged that a coterie of officials around the Chief Minister were “illegally” taking decisions in his “absence”.
The BJP called the statement a result of Congress “frustration” and accused the party of lowering the political discourse.
On October 27, soon after Health Minister Vishwajit Rane for the first time officially revealed that Parrikar was suffering from pancreatic cancer, the Chief Minister’s Office said that Parrikar was expected to hold a cabinet meeting on Wednesday at his private residence.
Deshprabhu told reporters that the BJP and the BJP-led coalition should prove to the people of Goa that Parrikar was alive.
The Congress leader also accused the media of trying to play down the severity of Parrikar’s ailment.
Goa BJP General Secretary Sadanand Shet Tanavade said that “Deshprabhu must be frustrated if he is making statements like this”.