Hours after Manohar Parrikar was laid to rest with full state honours at Marimar beach, BJP leader and Goa Assembly speaker Pramod Sawant was sworn as the 11st Chief Minister of the state at early hours. The oath ceremony was performed by Governor Mridula Sinha Besides him, Vijai Sardesai of Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Sudin Dhavalikar of Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP) also taken oath as Deputy Chief Ministers.
Notably, both parties (GFP and MGP) have three MLAs each and their support is essential to form a government in the coastal state whose 40-strong Assembly is currently down to 36 members. Sudin Dhavalikar has been insisting to become Chief Minister, since Parrikar was sick.
Apart from the CM and his two deputies, nine other ministers of the state cabinet were also sworn in at the late-night ceremony. The nine other ministers are Manohar Azgaonkar, Rohan Khaunte, Govind Gaude, Vinod Palienkar, Jayesh Salgaonkar, Mauvin Godinho, Vishwajit Rane, Milind Naik and Nilesh Cabral. Michael Lobo, currently the deputy speaker, will be speaker till a new one is elected.
BJP President Amit Shah, after attending Parrikar’s cremation, assumed charge of negotiating with potential allies and convinced them to accept Sawant, 46, as the new face of the BJP-led coalition government in Goa.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who has been camping in a city resort since late Sunday night, had already said that the BJP had ‘finalised’ its CM candidate and the party was in talks with political parties and Independent candidates who were a part of the erstwhile BJP-led coalition government.
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.
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.
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 honours.