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Pramod Sawant tipped to succeed Parrikar as Goa CM

Pramod Sawant tipped to succeed Parrikar as Goa CM

Panaji: BJP's Pramod Sawant is tipped to be the new chief minister of Goa, party sources said here Monday.

Parrikar, 63, who died Sunday after battling pancreatic cancer, was cremated with state honours here Monday evening.

Sawant is now Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly, while the two would-be Dy CMs are Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dhavalikar.

As per the power-sharing arrangement reached with allies, an MLA each from two small parties backing BJP in the coastal state will be made deputy chief ministers, the sources said.

After a stalemate following a series of meetings with the allies, the BJP managed to break the deadlock, offering them their pound of flesh, by accepting the key demand for deputy CM's posts. .

"We have managed to convince the alliance partners and finalised the formula of two deputy chief ministers for the state, a senior BJP functionary said.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari Monday evening had said a consensus eluded the BJP and its allies on the next Goa chief minister, adding the BJP had zeroed in on the CM candidate but the allies were yet to get on board.

There were a series of meetings involving the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party's three MLAs each, an equal number of Independents, and BJP legislators since late Sunday night to reach a consensus on Parrikar's successor.

Gadkari had flown into the state early Monday to lead the discussion.

Parrikar was heading a coalition government comprising the BJP, three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the MGP and three independents.

Congress is currently the single largest party in the state with 14 MLAs. The BJP has 12 legislators in the 40-member Assembly, whose strength now is 36 after Parrikar's death.

The strength of the House has reduced due to the demise of BJP MLA Francis D'Souza earlier this year, and Parrikar on Sunday, and resignations of two Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte last year.

All the state Congress MLAs met Governor Mridula Sinha on Monday and staked claim to form a government in the coastal state.

The MLAs, led by Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, went to Raj Bhawan and handed over a letter to Sinha, saying it was the single largest party in the Assembly and should be allowed to form the government.

"We are saddened by the chief minister's demise, but before his final rites are performed, a new government has to be formed...The governor acknowledged that the Congress is the single largest party and she said she will get back to us," Kavlekar told reporters.

Parrikar was cremated with state honours here Monday, with thousands bidding the affable politician a tearful farewell.

BJP president Amit Shah, some Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states attended the funeral at Miramar. Parrikar's eldest son Utpal lit the funeral pyre.

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