Sawant succeeds Parrikar as CM of Goa

Forty five-year-old Pramod Sawant (BJP), an Ayurvedic doctor and Speaker of Goa Assembly, was sworn-in as Goa Chief Minister, late on Monday  night, following the death of his predecessor Manohar Parrikar. Manohar Parrikar, 63, died of pancreatic cancer on Sunday evening. 

The BJP had to resolve tough negotiations with the allies which was possible only after the party chief Amit Shah intervened. Two lawmakers of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (GMP) joined the BJP and Sawant will have two deputy chief ministers, one from each ally – GMP and Goa Forward Party (GFP), though the small state does not warrant.

Sawant took oath along with the ministers in his 12-member cabinet, including his two deputies. Sudin Dhavalikar of MGP and Vijay Sardesai of GFP are the new deputy chief ministers. 

The shift of loyalty by the two MGP lawmakers takes the number of BJP and its allies to 20 in the 40-member Assembly, ending the Congress’ claim of being the single largest party in the state. 

Soon after the death of Parrikar, Union minister Nitin Gadkari reached Goa and held discussion with the allies, even as thousands mourned the death of Parrikar, who was laid to rest with full state honours.

After the 2017 polls in Goa, it was Gadkari who had negotiated with the allies just as the Congress emerged as the largest party, and persuaded them to walk together under the chief ministership of Manohar Parrikar, former Union Defence Minister. 

Parrikar, the BJP’s tallest leader in Goa, was most accepted by the allies and he had successfully riun the fractious coalition, appearing in the public with his nasal tube at times, during the treatment for pancreatic cancer. 

For more than a year, he fought with cancer undergoing  treatment both in the country and abroad. However, his condition did not improve, instead it turned very critical and he passed away at his private residence. The state government declared seven-day mourning as Parrikar was a sitting CM.

President Ram Nath Kovind termed Parrikar an “epitome of integrity and dedication”. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman praised Parrikar for his efforts in modernising the armed forces  while Amit Shah hailed him as a “true patriot”.

He was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the chief minister of a state. Since 2000, he assumed the mantle on four occasions but could not complete a full term in office.

Parrikar, a widower, is survived by two son, Utpal an Abhijat, their wives and a grandson . Neither of his sons is into politics. One is an engineer while the other is a businessman.

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