Goa CM Pramod Sawant wins trust vote

Besides 11 members of his party, the BJP, three each from the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents support him.

The newly inducted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government of Pramod Sawant won the vote of confidence on the floor of the House during a specially convened session of the Goa State legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

While the government got 20 votes, the Opposition got 15 in the 36-member truncated House of 40. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo was in the chair as Speaker Sawant had resigned to take over as the Chief Minister of the State.

While the treasury benches comprised of 11 members of the BJP, three of the MGP, three of the Goa Forward and three independents, the Opposition had 14 members of the Congress and one from the Nationalist Congress.

Former Minister Pandurang Madkaikar, who had suffered a paralytic stroke, attended a special session and was allowed by the Speaker to raise his hand during voting by sitting in his place. Four seats are vacant at the moment — two following the resignations of two Congress MLAs to join BJP in October last year, and two due to deaths of former Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza last month and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday. Both of them succumbed to cancer.

Sawant breaks down

Mr. Sawant broke down while speaking about Parrikar. Earlier, he broke down while speaking on a condolence motion which was passed unanimously in the State legislative Assembly condoling the death of Parrikar.

The motion to condole Parrikar’s demise was moved by BJP MLA Rajesh Patnekar along with the deaths of former Deputy Speaker Vishnu Wagh and former Deputy Chief Minister and MLA Francis D’Souza. "I am sitting here only because of Manohar Parrikar. I became an MLA, Speaker and now Chief Minister because of him," said Mr. Sawant in a choked voice. Overcome by emotion, he paused in his speech on several occasions.

Speaking on behalf of the BJP legislative party, Cabinet Minister Mauvin Godinho said that the late Chief Minister was a colossal and larger-than-life personality. "Difficult to get another Manohar Parrikar in this State, who build a modern Goa and took the State forward in every aspect of government. He is our pride and the State’s tallest leader who served as Defence Minister and conducted the iconic surgical strikes," Mr. Godinho said, adding, “His presence was felt in every decision of the State and he impacted life of people of Goa due to his vision."

‘Parrikar was a fighter’

Lone Nationalist Congress Party MLA and former Chief Minister Churchill Alemao said that cancer could happen to anyone. "God extended his life for up to a year because Mr. Parrikar was a fighter." Mr. Alemao also said that if Parrikar had lived on, he would have legalised the popular sport of bull-fighting in Goa. Bull fighting has been banned by a high court order two decades ago.

Cabinet Minister Sudin Dhavalikar said that an upcoming bridge across the Zuari river, would be named after the late Chief Minister. "We have already sought permission from the central government," Mr. Dhavalikar told the Goa legislative Assembly.

Parrikar was diagnosed for pancreatic caner in February 2018 and passed away on March 20 after battling advanced pancreatic cancer for over a year, which led to the formation of incumbent BJP-led coalition government.

Several Ministers representing different parties, including Independents and Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, who spoke on behalf of the Congress Legislature Party appreciated Parrikar’s vision and dynamism. The House also paid homage to the departed souls.

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