As the nation mourns the demise of Manohar Parrikar, speculations over the new Chief Minister have been put to rest. The BJP named Pramod Sawant as the successor to the late Goa Chief Minister Parrikar. Manohar Parrikar was successful in keeping the complex coalition involving the Goa forward party (GFP), the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP)and Independent MLAs, on the same page, he was known for his reach and respect across party lines.
The demise of the Goa Chief Minister after his prolonged battle with cancer saw political parties shuffling to stake claim for the top post in the state with no party having an absolute majority in the assembly. Congress going to the length of staking its claim three times in two days. BJP continuing with its proactive policies was swift to address the crisis; Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had flown in to hold meetings with the alliance partners of BJP. With names of several leaders making rounds for the top post, Nitin Gadkari had said, “We are yet to reach a consensus (with allies) on a candidate for the CM’s post. We are in talks with our alliance partners.”
Discussions about the feasibility of the coalition were making rounds since its formation as most coalition partners had only extended their support on the basis of Manohar Parrikar being the Chief Minister. However, BJP was successful in reaching a consensus with the alliance partners. After marathon meetings in presence of BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Pramod Sawant emerged as the leading candidate. In a late night ceremony at around 2:00 am Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Goa along with ministers in the 12-member cabinet which included two Deputy Chief Ministers. Goa Governor Mridula Sinha administered the oath in the late night ceremony. Leaders from Goa forward party (GFP), the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) will be Deputy CM of the State.
“Party has given me a huge responsibility; I will try my best to carry it out in the best possible manner. Whatever I am today is all due to Manohar Parrikar. It was he who brought me to politics; I became the Speaker and the CM today, due to him.” said Pramod Sawant.
The 46-year-old Pramod Sawant had a long and illustrious career, an Ayurveda practitioner; he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery from Ganga Education Society’s Ayurvedic College in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. Sawant is a two-time BJP MLA from North Goa’s Sanquelim constituency (2012 and 2017). He was elected Speaker of the Goa assembly after BJP formed the government in GOA with the support of its alliance partners in 2017. Sawant, who began his journey as a youth leader in the BJP and is also an RSS Swayamsevak. Sawant had worked closely with Parrikar, who played an instrumental role in giving him the ticket in the 2012 assembly elections.
The current scenario leaves the BJP’s tally in the state with 12 legislators. They are supported by 3 MLAs each of GFP and MGP coupled with 3 independent MLA’s. On the other hand, Congress stands at 15 legislators in the house. With by polls planned on 3 vacant constituencies together with the upcoming general elections interesting political scenarios await.