Podcast | Who is the New Goa CM and Why Was He Sworn-in at 2 am?

Who is Pramod Sawant the new CM of Goa and why was he sworn-in in a rush? Tune in to The Big Story!

2 min read

A little more than a day after former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away, BJP scrambled to replace him with Pramod Sawant who previously was the Speaker of the Goa State Assembly.

In The Big Story we talk about two things – who is Pramod Sawant, the new Chief Minister of Goa and why he was sworn-in in a rush. Tune in!

So who is Pramod Sawant?

He is an 46-year-old Ayurveda practitioner, who began his political career in the BJP and youth wing leader. Sawant won the 2012 and 2017 Assembly election, from Sanquelim constituency, which used to be a Congress stronghold. He was seen as an "obvious choice" to replace Parrikar, considering in the days when Parrikar’s health deteriorated, Sawant filled in for him on several occasions.

On his part, Sawant said he owes everything to Parrikar. He said:

“I owe everything to Parrikar. He is the one who got me into politics, he is the one who made me the Speaker.”

So, on 18 March, while the funeral rites of Parrikar were going on on one side, on the other side there all these mental calculations on how to keep the coalition government floating. After Parrikar was cremated, the new CM was sworn-in at 2 am. Why couldn’t it wait till morning?

And now for some easy math. Goa's assembly is 40 member strong. Even though Congress hit the magic mark of 21, the Goa coalition government was formed with 14 BJP MLAs, 3 Goa Forward Party MLAs, 3 Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLAs, and 3 independent MLAs.

But now the total members are down to 36.

  • One is because of Parrikar's death
  • Two, another BJP MLA Francis D'Souza also passed away recently
  • And three, 2 BJP MLAs defected to Congress

And what was concerning for the BJP was:

  • First, the Congress had gone to the governor staking claim to form a government because they said that they had the majority. They based this on the fact that the allies had said quite clearly in 2017 that they were here only for Parrikar and not the BJP. So the Congress assumed they don't want to stick around for the coalition anymore.
  • And secondly, both the ally parties obviously wanted their guys to be the Chief Minister. The more delay there was going to be in sorting this, the more chances of the assembly getting suspended.

And the party trick was to make two Deputy Chief Ministers – Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dahavalikar.

So, all Sawant has to do now is to prove his majority in the floor test. Considering poaching and hiding MLAs in resorts is something we've seen so often, things could change or will the government hold?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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