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BJP man Pramod Sawant to be Goa’s new Chief Minister

Pramod Sawant. File photo

Pramod Sawant. File photo  

Sources say two allied parties have sought the position of Deputy Chief Minister for their leaders Sudin Dhavalikar and Vijai Sardesai respectively.

Following a frenetic day of political wrangling and uncertainty, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Sawant was named on Monday as the next Chief Minister of Goa, to succeed Manohar Parrikar, who was cremated with full state honours in the presence of a galaxy of Union Ministers and thousands of his supporters.

The 45-year-old Mr. Sawant, who is the Speaker of the Goa legislative assembly, will be sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Goa.

 

The hopes for the Congress, which had said it would stake claim to form the government late on Sunday night, dissipated as the BJP and its two regional allies held hectic parleys through the day, and settled on Mr. Sawant’s name after a prolonged deadlock.

Legislators of BJP and alliance partners will be submitting letters to the Goa Governor Mridula Sinha staking claim to form a government, Union Minister for Road Transport and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari said.

"Our alliance partners and MLAs are going to meet the Governor. Signed letters establishing our majority will also be submitted to the Goa Governor," Mr. Gadkari told media at the resort where the leader was negotiating with coalition partners.

"I am going to go for swearing-in at the Raj Bhavan right now," Mr. Sawant told the media as he was heading for Raj Bhavan.

Gadkari leads team

The negotiations with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP), headed by Mr. Gadkari, appeared to have initially hit a wall. A 3 p.m. deadline set by the BJP for the swearing-in was missed.

A former Minister from the regional parties told The Hindu on condition of anonymity that the BJP was pushing for Mr. Sawant as its Chief Ministerial candidate but allies took time to endorse the name. The Congress has 14 MLAs in the 36-member House, while the BJP has 12.

Congress Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar and State Congress chief Girish Chodankar too went to the Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government. They were however not granted an appointment by the Governor’s office.

Sources said that both the MGP and GFP had sought the position of Deputy Chief Minister for their leaders Sudin Dhavalikar and Vijai Sardesai respectively.

A meeting between two of the three MGP MLAs with BJP president Amit Shah led to media speculation that the regional party was set to split, with the two joining the BJP.

Mr. Shah, who attended the cremation, met the allies at a city hotel.

Thousands pay tributes

Meanwhile, the final rites of the four-time Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister were performed at Miramar near here on Monday evening. A 21-gun salute was accorded to the BJP stalwart.

Mr. Parrikar’s elder son Utpal lit the pyre at Miramar beach as thousands bid adieu to the departed leader, affectionately referred to as ‘Bhai’ across Goa.

The final journey of Mr. Parrikar began from Kala Academy in the city with thousands joining the cortege.

Hundreds of common people and party workers lined the street to pay tributes to the leader who died on Sunday after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.

Earlier in the day when the body wrapped in tricolour was brought from his private residence in Dona Paula to the Panaji BJP headquarters, hundreds of party workers, leaders and supporters of Mr. Parrikar became emotional.

His body was later kept at the State Kala Academy for the public to pay homage.

Among those who paid floral tributes were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Textiles Smriti Irani, and Union Minister of State Ramdas Athawale.

Mr. Shah, Mr. Gadkari, Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, BJP Chief Ministers, including Devendra Fadnavis and some of his Ministerial colleagues were present for the final rites at Miramar.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 1:04:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-man-pramod-sawant-to-be-goas-new-cm-sources/article26571062.ece

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