Speaker Pramod Sawant takes Goa CM oath, Congress loses much awaited opportunity

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The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Pramod Sawant took oath as the chief minister of Goa in a ceremony held at 2 am on Tuesday, as the saffron party managed to keep its allies together after hectic discussion all through the day. The deputy chief ministers are likely to be declared by the end of the day today.

The 45-year-old takes over from former defense minister and four-time CM of Goa Manohar Parrikar, who was cremated at the Miramar beach on Monday.

The new CM said the party had given him a huge responsibility and gave credit to Parrikar for his rise. ‘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.’ he said after meeting the Governor.

The crucial transition of power in the coastal state necessitated by Parrikar’s death on Sunday capped frenzied political developments, with the Congress too staking claim to power.

Allies stay in the coalition

Sawant, along with union minister Nitin Gadkari, went to stake claim to form the government after midnight as power-sharing talks with the alliance partners continued till late. Parrikar was heading a coalition government comprising the BJP, three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the MGP and three independents.

Sawant was elected leader of the BJP legislature party at a meeting held in the state capital minutes after Parrikar was given a state funeral with full military honors.

BJP chief Amit Shah and Gadkari met the legislators before the formal resolution was passed. The Goa Congress slammed Governor Mridula Sinha for giving the BJP a chance to form the government, and called her an “agent of the BJP”.

Congress loses a “much-anticipated” opportunity

Congress is currently the single largest party in the state with 14 MLAs. The BJP has 12 legislators in the 40-member Assembly, whose strength now is 36 after Parrikar’s death.

The strength of the House has reduced due to the demise of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza earlier this year, and Parrikar on Sunday, and resignations of two Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte last year.

All the state Congress MLAs had also met Governor Mridula Sinha on Monday and staked claim to form the government in the coastal state.

The MLAs, led by Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, went to Raj Bhawan and handed over a letter to Sinha, saying it was the single largest party in the Assembly and should be allowed to form the government.

Read more: Goa CM Manohar Parrikar passes away at 63



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