Pramod Sawant named new Goa CM, 2 deputy CMs likely

The political crisis had erupted in the state after chief minister Manohar Parrikar passed away on Sunday evening.

New Delhi/Panaji: The struggle for power in Goa seemed to be heading towards a dramatic climax as the Bharatiya Janata Party had by Monday evening managed to hang on to power by announcing that its MLA and Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant would be the next chief minister of the state.

However, after initial reports that Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLA Sudin Dhavalikar and Goa Forward Party (GFP) chief Vijai Sardesai were likely to be deputy chief ministers in the new government, by Monday evening it was learnt two MGP MLAs (the party has three MLAs in the 36-member Goa Assembly) joined the BJP, thus taking its strength in the Assembly to 14.

The political crisis had erupted in the state after chief minister Manohar Parrikar passed away on Sunday evening.

While BJP leaders were yet to meet governor Mridula Sinha to stake claim to forming the government, there was speculation that with more than two-thirds of its total members having joined the BJP, the MGP may now not get the deputy chief minister’s post.

There is speculation that the new BJP chief minister could be sworn in soon. Both the MGP and the GFP, with three MLAs each in the Goa Assembly, are allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and three Independents are also said to be backing the BJP, that takes the strength of the BJP and its allies to 21 in the 36-member House.

Even if two MGP members have joined the BJP, the numbers remain in favour of the BJP and its allies.

The Congress, meanwhile, has 13 MLAs and the NCP one, taking its tally to 14 in the House.

The actual strength of the Goa Assembly is 40, but it has now come down to 36, with 18 MLAs being the magic number for forming the government.

The Congress had on Saturday, a day before Parrikar’s death, staked claim to form the government after BJP MLA Francis D’Souza’s death last week.

The party had said the BJP on its own was reduced to 13 MLAs in the House and thus was in a minority.

After Parrikar’s death on Sunday, the Congress had once again staked its claim, but with senior BJP leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkar reaching the state and holding hectic parleys with the MGP and GFP soon after the chief minister’s death, the ruling party seems to have managed to hold on to power in the state.

Earlier on Monday, Manohar Parrikar was cremated with full state honours as thousands lined the streets to mourn the late chief minister. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Goa in the afternoon to pay tribute to the departed leader. Parrikar, a four-time chief minister, died at his private residence on Sunday evening after battling pancreatic cancer since February last year. The IIT graduate had represented Panaji seat in the Assembly for over two decades.

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