Pramod Sawant will be Goa CM, BJP Central Observers to arrive on Saturday
Sawant, by virtue of leading the party to victory in Goa, has established his credentials among the top brass of the party, says senior journalist K R Sreenivas
The BJP made it clear to everyone on Saturday that Pramod Sawant will be the chief minister of Goa. There is no other contender, said a senior leader of the party.
The BJP leaders pointed out that Sawant has brought back the BJP to office, winning the elections clearly. The MGP, which had quit the BJP-led alliance before the elections and allied with the Trinamool Congress (TMC), has now extended unconditional support to the BJP.
While quitting the alliance earlier, the MGP put conditions for support saying they will back the BJP only minus Pramod Sawant. Their anger against Sawant was because the chief minister had dropped Sudhin Dawalikar from the ministry.
But now, the BJP has decided to let MGP join the government and may make Dawalikar a minister, it is being said.
Sawant has a bigger fight to deal with, that of the Goud Saraswat Brahmins (GSBs) against him. The GSB lobby does not seem to be comfortable with Sawant, especially since they ruled during late Manohar Parrikar's time. The GSB lobby, which formed the main support for Manohar Parrikar during his political career, switched sides during this election angered by the fact that Pramod Sawant had dropped several GSBs from plum posts in the government.
Upset, the GSB lobby backed Utpal Parrikar after he was denied a party ticket to contest from Panaji, his father Manohar Parrikar’s bastion. Utpal gave a tough fight backed by the GSB lobby. Even those in the BJP backed Utpal silently despite him quitting from the BJP and contesting as an Independent candidate. In the end, he lost by 708 votes to BJP’s Atanasio Babush Monserrate.
Soon after the election results, Monserrate commented that he knew he did not get the support of the BJP cadres, but he still managed to win. Monserrate did receive support from Pramod Sawant. On Friday, Monserrate said he will work to get the support of the BJP cadres.
In the elections to the state, the GSB groups switched sides to the Congress in many constituencies and backed Digambar Kamat, a GSB, to become the CM, but their support alone was not enough as several smaller parties cut into Congress votes.
After the counting was completed, Rane pitched for his own candidature as chief minister and is still lobbying heavily for the post. In a manner of supporting Sawant, Monserrate countered with his own candidature so Rane cannot claim that he is the only strong contender, sources close to the developments said.
Another import from the Congress, Mauvin Godinho has also claimed that he is the senior-most leader in the party and hence should be made the chief minister. But he quickly added that whatever is the decision of the party, he will abide by it.
"There are many factors to choose a CM, seniority, merit and many other factors."
The BJP is unlikely to support the candidature of Rane since they are peeved with him for backing candidates in three constituencies including in Sawant’s Sanquelim constituency. The other two constituencies where Rane is said to have worked against the BJP is Mayem where he supported Goa Forward Party (GFP) candidate and in Bicholim where he backed the MGP candidate, from behind the scenes, it is alleged.
As a counter, Rane accused Sawant of fielding a Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) candidate, Manoj Parab, from Valpoi, who won 6,000 votes in the constituency against Vishwajit Rane. The RGP, a party funded by NRI Goans, particularly from the UK, has actually fielded candidates in most constituencies and the party has got a good number of votes across Goa. These incidents have created a trust deficit and frustration on both sides.
In Valpoi itself, there was some anger against Rane when he pushed for setting up an IIT campus at Melauli. The villagers protested against taking away their land, and finally, the proposal to set up an IIT at Melauli was called off when protests went out of hand.
Locals have started talking about Rane, saying he has not brought any development to benefit the locals except giving them some odd jobs.
BJP in charge of Goa Devendra Fadnavis has already indicated to Rane asking him to support Pramod Sawant's candidature for the chief minister's post. The party leadership may ask Rane to propose the name of Sawant as chief minister and also ask Mauvin Godinho, the other ambitious MLA to second Sawant as chief minister, a source close to the developments said.
The BJP will look to have a trusted RSS man as the chief minister. Those being imported from outside may not be given a charge so soon yet. When one looks at the MLA elects, most of the original BJP MLAs do not have the stature to take charge.
Sawant, by virtue of leading the party to victory in Goa, has established his credentials among the top brass of the party. The BJP themselves did not expect such a good performance. But before finalising the candidature, the party will look to tie all loose ends.
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