While the BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party in the recently concluded Goa election, is yet to form a government, all newly-elected members of the eighth Legislative Assembly were sworn in on Tuesday.
Of the 40 MLAs, pro-tem Speaker Ganesh Gaonkar, BJP MLA from Sanvordem, was sworn in on Monday by Governor P.S. Shreedharan Pillai.
Mr. Gaonkar presided over the swearing-in of the other 19 BJP MLAs along with 11 from the Congress, two each from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), one each from the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the Revolutionary Goans (RG) and three independents.
The prelude to the ceremony was marked by some quirky Goan colour as independent MLA Antonio Vaz arrived on a two -wheeler to the Assembly, ostensibly to beat the traffic. Mr. Vaz who won the Cortalim seat in south Goa defeated noted candidates like the AAP’s Alina Saldanha, a former BJP Minister in the Manohar Parrikar Cabinet.
RG’s Viresh Borkar, who won the St Andre constituency in a humdinger of a contest, was dropped to the Assembly on a motorcycle driven his party chief, Manoj Parab. Mr. Borkar is the first MLA of the RG, which was the youngest political party in the poll fray.
Sawant thanks electorate
While speaking to reporters after the swearing-in, caretaker Chief Minister Pramod Sawant expressed his gratitude to the electorate for helping the BJP win a decisive 20 of the 40 seats. He said this majority would help the new government to be aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and help make the State self-reliant.
Mr. Sawant later left for Delhi in the evening for a crucial meeting with Mr. Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other top leaders to discuss government formation.
Mr. Sawant’s Congress rival Digambar Kamat, who was sworn in as Margao MLA for the seventh time, took a jibe at the BJP’s delay in staking claim to form a government by remarking that “this was the first time in the history of Goa that MLAs were sworn-in before the government was formed.”
After Holi festivities
BJP Goa chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade said a government would be formed only after the Holi festivities. While three independents and the two MGP candidates have already pledged unconditional support to the BJP, a number of Goa BJP leaders are looking askance at the prospect of having to take the MGP in the new government as the BJP can well form the government with the aid of the independents.
MGP president Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar said the decision to take the MGP or not with them ultimately lay with the BJP’s central leadership. Soon after the results on March 10, the BJP’s election in charge Devendra Fadnavis, along with other senior leaders like C.T. Ravi, had said the BJP was disposed to take the MGP in the new government.