BJP MLA Pramod Sawant was elected the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. He defeated Congress nominee Aleixo Lourneco by five votes. While Sawant got 20 votes, Lourenco secured 15. With the resignation of Congress MLA Vishwajit Rane last week, the effective strength of the 40-member House is now reduced to 39.
Out of the 39 members, 20 from BJP and its alliance partners voted in favour of Sawant. The pro-tem Speaker, Siddharth Kuncolienkar, did not vote. NCP legislator Churchill Alemao, who had supported the BJP-led alliance during the trust vote in the Assembly last week, abstained from voting and remained seated in his chair. Two MLAs — BJP’s Nilesh Cabral and Lourenco of the Congress — reached the House after the voting was over.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the House that the MLAs were stuck in traffic. After occupying the Speaker’s chair, 38-year-old Sawant thanked the House and said: “Eighty per cent of MLAs here are elder to me and more experienced. I hope to learn from them and help in the smooth conduct of the House.” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavalekar congratulated Sawant and said: “I request you to be fair to all the members as many of them are new in the House.”