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BJP's Pramod Sawant sworn in as new Goa chief minister, says 'will never be able to do as much as Parrikar'

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 19, 2019, 06.16 AM (IST)

The BJP's Pramod Sawant was sworn in as chief minister of Goa at 1.50 am on Tuesday. Eleven ministers were sworn in along with him. 

"I will not be able to work as much as Manohar Parrikar ji but I will definitely try to work as much as possible," Sawant said shortly after taking office. He added that it was Parrikar who had brought him into politics. 

Sawant said his aim would be to provide "stability and move ahead together with all allies". He added that "it'll be my responsibility to complete the incomplete works." 

Sawant, who used to be Speaker of the assembly, will have two deputy chief ministers which is unprecedented for Goa. The two deputy CMs are Sudhin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party.

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Sawant's swearing in early Tuesday capped a hectic day of parleying between the BJP and its allies after former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar died Sunday. He was cremated on Monday evening, and Sawant was sworn in a few hours later. 

The two deputy chief ministerships were how the deadlock was broken — Dhavalikar and Sardesai had both staked a claim to the chief ministership. 

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Senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, the party's Goa in-charge, was present at Sawant's swearing-in ceremony. It was Gadkari who led the discussions over the chief ministership with the BJP's allies but the news agency PTI reported that BJP president Amit Shah finally stepped in to break the deadlock. 

The new government was sworn in with the support of 20 MLAs, including 11 from the BJP and three each from GFP, MGP and Independents.

All the MLAs supporting the coalition were present at the swearing-in ceremony.

Before taking oath as chief minister, Sawant resigned from the Speaker's post.

Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo will officiate as Speaker till elections for the post are held. 

Sawant had been scheduled to be sworn in at 11 pm but there was an unexplained delay for another two hours. 

Parrikar had been suffering from pancreatic cancer for the last two years; his health had dipped suddenly over the last two days. 

Parrikar was cremated with state honours on Monday at Goa's Miramar beach, with thousands bidding the affable politician a fond farewell.

(With inputs from PTI)