Pramod Sawant took oath as the new Chief Minister of Goa late Monday night following the death of Manohar Parrikar on Sunday.
A two-time MLA representing Sanquelim constituency, Sawant is among the few leaders in the BJP groomed by Parrikar himself. A young leader, Sawant quickly grew through the ranks of the party beginning as a karyakarta. More importantly, Sawant is the only leader in the party right now who has the backing of the RSS and has no political baggage.
The BJP is also looking at a leader who could lead the party in the state for at least 15 years and try and fill the political vacuum created by Parrikar’s demise.
Late last year, amid demands within a section of the party for a change in leadership, Sawant reportedly met with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur, making it clear that he was ready to take on the role. Along with him was North Goa MP and Union Minister Shripad Naik.
BJP’s key alliance partners – MGP and the Goa Forward Party — offered their support in 2017 on the condition that Parrikar returned to the state as CM and relinquished the post of Union Defence Minister.
While Sawant’s candidature for chief minister does not face much opposition from the two allies, the demand for portfolios is what delayed the decision. What ministries MLAs of Vijai Sardesai’s GFP and Deepak Dhavalikar’s MGP get will be closely watched should the BJP want the government to remain till 2022.
The BJP, though, was left with no choice. Vishwajit Rane, who recently switched sides from the Congress, was not given the top post given that has barely been with the party for a year.
The BJP also did not consider the two Christian MLAs in the party — Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo and MLA Mauvin Godinho — for the chief ministership for obvious reasons.