Shortly before the clock struck 2 am Tuesday, Pramod Pandurang Sawant, 45, Goa’s Speaker until that moment, took over as the state’s new chief minister succeeding Manohar Parrikar who died less than 48 hours ago.
“Whatever I am today is all due to Manohar Parrikar. It was he who brought me to politics, I became the Speaker and the chief minister today, due to him," Sawant said in praise of his mentor who battled pancreatic cancer for a year before his end came.
Four-time Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar was cremated with full State honours in Panaji on Monday evening.
Newly-appointed Goa CM Pramod Sawant: I have to provide a stability and move ahead together with all allies. It'll be my responsibility to complete the incomplete works. I will not be able to work as much as Manohar Parrikar ji but I will definitely try to work as much as possible. pic.twitter.com/BImogFkxp0
— ANI (@ANI) March 18, 2019
The new team sworn in early Tuesday morning has two deputy chief ministers, Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dhavalikar, from the two parties backing the BJP in the coastal state. Both men had initially demanded the chief minister's post.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who had arrived in Goa soon after Parrikar's death on Sunday evening, had tried to negotiate with allies but failed to make much headway. Finally, BJP president Amit Shah broke the deadlock, after attending Parrikar's last rites.
The Goa Assembly has 36 members now instead of 40 after two deaths — Parrikar and BJP legislator Francis D'Souza — and the resignation of two others. The Congress claims to be the single-largest party with 14 seats, while the BJP, with 13, has the support of many smaller parties.
Eleven ministers took oath to complete the new power structure in Goa. These include Sudin Dhavlikar, Vijai Sardesai, Manohar Azgaonkar, Rohan Khaunte, Govind Gaude, Vinod Palienkar, Jayesh Salgaonkar, Mauvin Godinho, Vishwajit Rane, Milind Naik and Nilesh Cabral.
Predictably, Goa Congress stepped up attacks against the BJP amidst hectic overnight action at Raj Bhavan.
"We're strongly condemning undemocratic action of Goa Governor Mridula Sinha for not allowing our single largest party to form the govt and allowing BJP to carry on horse trading despite BJP not having sufficient numbers to form the government," Sunil Kawthankar of the Goa Congress told ANI.
Goa's new chief minister Sawant earned a Bachelor's degree in Ayurvedic Medicine from the Ganga Aruvedic Medical College in Maharashtra's Kolhapur district and practiced alternative medicine. Sawant also has a Masters in Social Welfare from the Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth.
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Updated Date: Mar 19, 2019 07:21:13 IST