Panaji: Goa Health Minister and three-time legislator Laxmikant Parsekar was on Saturday sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Goa at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Panaji, bringing down the curtains on a high-pitched three-day drama over the top job of the coastal State.
Governor Mridula Sinha administered oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Parsekar and nine Ministers — seven from the BJP and two from ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. Two Cabinet berths will be filled later, Mr. Parsekar said after the ceremony. Independent Avertano Furtado who was part of Manohar Parrikar Ministry has been left out.
Apart from Mr. Parsekar who represents Mandrem constituency in north coastal Goa, Francisco D’Souza, Dayanand Mandrekar, Ramesh Tawadkar, Mahadev Naik, Dilip Parulekar, Milind Naik, Alina Saldanha (all BJP), Ramkrishna Dhavlikar and Deepak Dhavlikar (both MGP) were sworn in as Ministers.
“The portfolios for the Ministers will be allocated after taking views of Mr. Parrikar, who will be back in Goa after taking oath as Union Minister of Defence, on November 12-13,” Mr. Parsekar told the media in a clear indication that Mr. Parrikar would continue to have a considerable hold on the new government.
In reply to another question about his government’s priorities, Mr. Parsekar said that this government had not come in power after winning a new election, but it was a change of leadership following a technical necessity, and as such his focus will be to carry on all the policies, programmes and welfare schemes of the earlier government, of which he was also a Minister.Mr. Parrikar, Speaker Rajendra Arlekar who also lost the leadership battle, other dignitaries including BJP observers B. S. Yeddyurappa and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, BJP Goa in-charge V. Satish, BJP vice-president Parshottam Rupala were present among others, for the ceremony.
Earlier, after a prolonged one-to-one consultative process held with all the party legislators, Mr. Rudy and Mr. Yeddyurapp announced the name of Mr. Parsekar to take over as next Chief Minister, ignoring the dissent of Mr. D’Souza.
Mr. D’Souza later joined the new Cabinet as Deputy Chief Minister. Party sources said he has been promised the Home portfolio held by Mr. Parrikar.
“Parsekar was chosen unanimously by all BJP MLAs at the legislative party meeting and Francis D’Souza seconded the proposal. The decision was taken in complete unanimity,” Mr. Rudy announced at the BJP city headquarters on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier, the party successfully overcame a minor rebellion of sorts with Mr. D’Souza raising the issue of seniority and claiming support of more than 12 legislators. He had said that he would join the new government only as Chief Minister.
Mr. Parsekar had the largest support from the MLAs and also the backing of Mr. Parrikar who is poised to move to Delhi to become the next Defence Minister.
With 21 MLAs of its own in 40-Member House, the BJP in Goa heads a coalition government with the support of three-member MGP, two-member Goa Vikas Party and three of the five Independents.
Earlier Mr. Parrikar tendered his resignation to the Governor after his name was announced for induction in the Union Cabinet by BJP Parliamentary Board.
After being sworn in as Cabinet Minister on Sunday, he will file his Rajya Sabha nomination from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Assembly, on Monday. The election will be held on November 20, 2014.