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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

‘Pramod Sawant was Parrikar’s choice to replace him’: BJP leader

Pramod Sawant came into prominence in the state when he led a protest in 2011 as the president of the Goa wing of BJP’s youth wing against Digambar Kamat-led Congress government over alleged irregularities in the mining sector.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2019 02:05 IST
Gerard Desouza and Kumar Uttam
Gerard Desouza and Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times , Panaji/New Delhi
Pramod Sawant has been elected as leader of the BJP legislature party in Goa, clearing the decks for his swearing-in.
Pramod Sawant has been elected as leader of the BJP legislature party in Goa, clearing the decks for his swearing-in.
         

Pramod Sawant, 45, who was named the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislature party leader on Monday and sworn in as Goa’s new chief minister, has risen through the party ranks. He is considered a leader who follows the party’s ideology closely.

With his appointment, the BJP has handed over the baton of the state politics to the next generation. Sawant was chosen despite the presence of senior party leaders such as former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Union Ayush minister Shripad Nayak within the BJP ranks.

Sawant was unanimously elected the legislature party leader ahead of his inauguration as the 11th chief minister of Goa. He took oath late on Monday.

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He came into prominence in the state when he led a protest in 2011 as the president of the Goa wing of BJP’s youth wing against Digambar Kamat-led Congress government over alleged irregularities in the mining sector. Sawant has held various posts in the BJP youth wing, including the post of national vice-president.

Manohar Parrikar, who was then the leader of opposition in Goa assembly, spotted him and mentored him. According to a BJP leader, Sawant had the backing of Parrikar, who first played an important role in giving him a ticket for Goa assembly polls in 2012. He won from Sanquelim in 2012 and 2017. But he lost when he contested for the first time in the by-election to Pale constituency in 2008. “Sawant was Parrikar’s choice to replace him as the chief minister,” said the BJP leader requesting anonymity. He also said Sawant was nominated for the speaker’s post on request of Parrikar even though he was among the younger legislators.

A practitioner of Ayurveda, Sawant enjoys the support of the local unit of the BJP’s ideological mentor, Rashtriya Swaymasevak Sangh (RSS). Sawant was a part of the RSS before joining the BJP’s youth wing. He headed the party’s youth wing in the coastal state when Anurag Thakur was incharge of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. Later, he also became the national vice president of the youth wing.

Sawant was the president of Sai Sports and Youth Club in his native Pale-Cotombi village and was awarded Nehru Yuva Kendra award. Sawant’s mild nature and clean reputation gave him an edge over his biggest competitor Vishwajit Rane, who has seniority on his side, but is not favoured among allies, said a Goa BJP leader. Rane had resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP last year. His father, Pratapsingh, continues to be in the Congress.

First Published: Mar 19, 2019 00:09 IST

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