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Sawant takes oath as Goa CM

PANAJI: After hectic deliberations with alliance partners Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party that went late into the night, BJP’s Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the 24th Chief Minister of the state at 1.48 am.

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party leader Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai, Manohar Ajgaonkar, Rohan Khaunte, Govind Gaude, Vinod Palyekar, Jayesh Salgaonkar, Mauvin Godinho, Vishwajit Rane, Milind Naik and Nilesh Cabral were sworn in as cabinet ministers.

Governor Mridula Sinha administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and his cabinet ministers.

Earlier, Sawant had staked claim to form government at around 12.30 am at the Raj Bhavan. The process of completing the formalities took over an hour and the actual swearing-in ceremony began at 1.45 am.

Bharatiya Janata Party took more than 24 hours to finalise the name of Sawant as the chief ministerial candidate. He resigned as Speaker of Goa Assembly around 9.30 pm on Monday after which he was elected as leader of the BJP legislature wing.

The BJP leaders, including party MLAs headed by national BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari managed to bring about a consensus and sought the letters of support from the GFP, MGP and independent MLAs.

The BJP leadership chose Sawant as Parrikar’s successor over Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, whose name was also emerging for the top post after the demise of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

With Parrikar’s demise, the strength of Goa Assembly is 36 with BJP now having 12 MLAs. However, after meeting Amit Shah, both the allies of BJP remained intact which enabled BJP to deny Congress party a chance to form the next government despite it being the single largest party in the Assembly.

Earlier, there was chaos and a confusing situation prevailed at Dona Paula-based hotel since morning till midnight, as BJP leaders were reluctant to announce the name of the new chief minister.

Moreover, mismanagement and irresponsible organisation of the swearing-in ceremony was also witnessed. The department of information and publicity sent communication relating to the swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan at 11 pm. However, the actual procedure began only at 1.45 am.

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