The Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium in Goa’s Taleigao area has been spruced up to receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday for Chief Minister-designate Pramod Sawant’s swearing-in ceremony.
Mr. Sawant, who will be taking charge as Goa’s CM for a second time, had retained the Sanquelim Assembly seat for the third consecutive time following a hard-fought electoral contest in which he defeated his nearest challenger, the Congress’ Dharmesh Saglani, by a slender margin of 666 votes.
Besides Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP national president J.P. Nadda and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari are to be present on the occasion in addition to Chief Ministers of at least eight BJP-ruled States.
Sources estimate an audience of more than 10,000 people will witness the event.
In the results to the 40-member Goa Assembly, the BJP snared a decisive 20 seats to coast to victory defying gloomy anti-incumbency predictions and forming a government for the third consecutive term. The BJP’s main challenger, the Congress, secured only 11 seats.
Soon after the results, the party was further strengthened after three independents unconditionally pledged their support to the new government along with two MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which had fought the elections in alliance with the Trinamool Congress on an anti-BJP plank.
Contest for Speaker
On Sunday, the BJP MLA from Canacona, Ramesh Tawadkar filed his nomination for Speaker’s post in the Goa Assembly. The Speaker’s election is to be held on Tuesday after Mr. Sawant’s swearing-in.
Mr. Sawant, who accompanied Mr. Tawadkar to file his nomination, said: “We submitted three forms including a proposal by independent Aleixo Reginaldo which was seconded by Subhash Faldessai. The second was proposed by Subhash Shirodkar and seconded by Mr. Reginaldo while the third was proposed by Jennifer Monserrate and seconded by Nilkanth Halarnkar. We are confident of Mr. Tawadkar’s victory in the election to the Speaker’s post.”
Mr. Sawant also hinted at further support in the form of two or three other MLAs, while refusing to name from which party they were.
Meanwhile, the party’s election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis arrived on Sunday evening to hold meetings with the Goa BJP leadership and finalise the list of ministers who will be part of the new cabinet in the first round, said sources.
The Goa State Industries Association (GSIA) issued a press statement urging Mr. Sawant to appoint ministers with ‘integrity, merit and who were development oriented’ while stressing that the coastal State lagged behind in diversifying its industrial base, leading to fewer employment opportunities and more migration to other States offering better incentives.