Ending days of suspense, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced on March 21 that Pramod Sawant would continue as Chief Minister of the State. This will be Sawant’s second term at the helm. The decision was made during the BJP’s legislature party meeting in Panaji.
Though the BJP was all set to form the government soon after it won the Assembly elections on March 10, the delay in appointing a Chief Minister was apparently because Vishwajit Rane, former Health Minister, was also a front runner for the post. A popular figure in the Valpoi area of North Goa, Rane won the election with a massive majority and had a reasonable amount of support from other Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). Rane had also made it known that he was not in Sawant’s camp.
Therefore, the party was considering the possibility of appointing a new person as Chief Minister. Rajendra Arlekar, the Himachal Pradesh Governor who is from Goa, was reportedly mentioned as an alternative to Sawant and Rane.
However, at the press meet to announce the Chief Ministers of Goa and Manipur, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister and the BJP’s Central observer for Goa, said: “Vishwajit Rane proposed the name of Pramod Sawant as the leader of the legislative party. Everyone unanimously elected Sawant. He will be the leader for the next five years.”
Sawant took over as Goa’s Chief Minister first in 2019 following the death of Manohar Parrikar. The chief ministerial candidate during the BJP’s election campaign, he is credited with leading the BJP to victory in the recent Assembly elections.