GOA Assembly Speaker Dr. Pramod Sawant was on late Monday night sworn in as the Chief Minister of Goa to succeed the late CM Manohar Parrikar. In a sober ceremony in tune with the state of mourning, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha administered oath of office to Dr. Pramod Sawant in the presence of Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Shripad Naik who brokered successful continuation of the Bharatiya Janata Party Government post the demise of Manohar Parrikar. The swearing-in ceremony was delayed by more than two-and-a-half hours for unclear reasons even after Gadkari announced smilingly that the BJP and allies have mustered enough numbers to form the Government. After Sawant took oath in Konkani language, Vijai Sardesai and Sudin Dhavalikar were sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers, and a few persons as ministers as per the formula worked out by Nitin Gadkari. BJP national President Amit Shah who had camped in Goa since morning, however, was not present at the oath ceremony.
The atmosphere at the late night ceremony was subdued and those present welcomed the transition with mild claps. Responding to media questions as he walked towards the Raj Bhavan, Dr. Sawant said, “This is a very big responsibility that the party has given me, and I will try my best to perform my duties.” When asked about Parrikar's role in his political journey, Sawant said: “It is because of him (Parrikar) that I entered politics. I became Goa Assembly Speaker also because of him.” 43-year-old Sawant represents Sanquelim assembly constituency. His wife, Sulakshana Sawant is the president of the women’s wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa. The Chief Minister's post in Goa went vacant after Parrikar died on Sunday evening after a prolonged battle against cancer at the age of 63. BJP currently has 12 legislators and enjoys the support of legislators from Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three independents. GFP and MGP each have three MLA's. Congress, on the other hand, has 15 MLA's in the house and is also short of the majority mark without external support.
However, it had also, for the third time in two days staked claim to form a government in Goa. Goa Assembly has a strength of 40 members with four seats lying vacant due to deaths of two legislators, including Parrikar and resignation of two others. The by-polls on the three seats are scheduled to take place on April 23. Previous assembly elections in Goa were held in February 2017. The next elections are due in 2022.
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