With the support of three Independent MLAs and a two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) legislators, the leader of the BJP’s 20-member legislative party, Pramod Sawant, on Monday staked claim to form a BJP-led coalition government in Goa.
Sawant submitted the party’s resolution electing him as a leader of the BJP legislative party to Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, along with letters of support from the three Independent MLAs and MGP legislative party leader Sudin Dhavalikar.
Governor Pillai has appointed Sawant as the Chief Minister, and the swearing-in ceremony is expected to be take place on March 23 or March 24 in consultation with the BJP’s central leadership.
Sawant, 48, had previously held the post of Chief Minister from 2019-2022 and was serving as caretaker Chief Minister of the state.
Speaking to reporters after being appointed Chief Minister, Sawant thanked top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, state party leaders, and MLAs for his appointment as Chief Minister for the second time.
“My aim is to transform Modi ji’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat in Goa as Swayampurna Goa 2.0 this time. We will work together to realise the Prime Minister’s vision of creating a new India and a new Goa. We will work to provide good governance with transparency and zero corruption,” the Chief Minister said.
Sawant’s candidature was endorsed earlier on Monday at a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 20-member legislative party in the presence of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, an emissary of the BJP’s central parliamentary board, and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is the party’s in-charge of poll-related affairs in the coastal state.
Interestingly, Sawant’s key rival for the post of Chief Minister, his former cabinet colleague Vishwajit Rane, proposed Sawant’s name for the post of Chief Minister at the meeting.
“Vishwajit Rane proposed Pramod Sawant’s name as the leader. Rane’s proposal was supported by Ravi Naik, Mauvin Godinho, Nilesh Cabral, Rohan Khaunte and Jennifer Monserrate (all BJP MLAs). After that I asked everyone if they had another option. All of them said, ‘we are in support of Pramod Sawant’,” Tomar told reporters.
Sawant was tipped to be Chief Minister, but the party had been unable to formalise his appointment reportedly in the wake of a claim for chief ministership made by Rane.
Both Sawant and Rane were summoned to Delhi by Amit Shah, who, according to BJP sources, resolved the differences between the two leaders, paving way for Sawant to take charge of the top post for a second term.