Bharatiya Janata Party has managed to save Goa in the aftermath of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's demise. The coalition government, which was held together under the aegis of simple and hardworking Parrikar, threatened to fall as soon as he left for heavenly abode on Sunday night.
Barely an hour after Parrikar's death, Congress jumped in to present its stake at the power claiming that it was the single largest party with 14 seats in a 36-member assembly. And with three-MLA party Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) threatening to exit BJP-led coalition, the Congress could have succeeded. Without MGP, BJP-led alliance would have been left with only 17 seats in the house, two shy of the majority.
But for Nitin Gadkari. The Union minister was flown into Panaji at around 1 am on Monday to manage the crisis even as the nation was yet to come out of the initial shock of their beloved former defence minister's demise.
Marathon meetings and hefty negotiations went on overnight but the coalition failed to reach a consensus on the name of next chief minister. BJP wanted either Vishwajit Rane or Pramod Sawant, but MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar had openly declared that he wants to be the CM or else he can pull out of the alliance.
After a brief rest, the negotiations resumed on Monday while the general public and political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, paid their last respects to the mortal remains of Manohar Parrikar at Kala Academy. Confident to arrive at a decision soon, BJP announced that the name of the new CM will be announced by 2 pm and he will be sworn in by 3 pm - two hours before the last rites. However, that did not happen.
The suspense continued.
By afternoon, it was almost certain that Pramod Sawant will be the next chief minister, but it took time appeasing the allies and the final announcement was not made until after midnight.
Within an hour, papers were presented to Governor Mridula Sinha and by 01:50 am Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the 11th chief minister of Goa, but with two deputy CMs.
One leader from both alliance partners - Sudin Dhavalikar from warring MGP and Vijai Sardesai from loyal Goa Forward Party (GFP) were given the post of deputy chief minister.
Apart from two deputy CMs, all former ministers from Parrikar's cabinet were given the spot.
MGP's Manohar Ajgaonkar, BJP's Mauvin Godinho, Vishwajit Rane, Milind Naik and Nilesh Cabral, Goa Forward Party's Vinod Palyekar and Jayesh Salgaonkar and Independent MLAs Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gawade are among the cabinet ministers. They have all been sworn in and will be given their portfolios within eight days, BJP sources said.