Pramod Sawant succeeding Manohar Parrikar
+ as the state’s chief minister, the BJP has effectively passed the mantle to its GenNext leadership. And with Sawant being the only BJP MLA from the RSS cadre, the transition has been truly complete.
Sawant was the spokesperson of the BJP and the speaker of the state legislative assembly until his elevation to the chief minister’s post.
A person of humble origins, hailing from Cotombi, a rural hinterland village in Bicholim, Sawant’s saffron leanings right from his early days grounded him in the Hindutva ideology. His father, Pandurang Sawant, a former zilla panchayat member, was actively associated with Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and was also recognised as the BJP’s loyal footsoldier.
After completing his graduation in Ayurveda medicine, Sawant completed his postgraduation studies in Medico-Legal System and also did his masters in social work.
Sawant plunged into politics on the insistence of the BJP leadership in 2008 after the Sanquelim (now Sakhali) assembly seat fell vacant. Quitting his government job as an Ayurveda physician in the north district hospital at Mapusa, Sawant contested the byelection as a BJP candidate, but lost. He, however, triumphed in the 2012 assembly elections and in the subsequent 2017 polls. After the BJP-led coalition government led by Parrikar came to power following the 2017 polls, Sawant was elected as the speaker of Goa assembly, making him the youngest speaker from among all state legislative assemblies in the country at that time.
Sawant was in the reckoning for the top post ever since the question of successor for Parrikar came to the fore following the detection of Parrikar’s illness. Believed to have been close to Parrikar and known to be groomed into politics by Parrikar himself, Sawant was also the natural preferred choice of the departed BJP stalwart. Sources said that his staunch loyalty to the party weighed in favour of his selection as Parrikar’s successor. “Sawant’s loyalty to the party is such that he would always put the party before any personal ambition. Besides the BJP’s requirement of a relatively younger candidate to lead the party for the next 10-15 years worked in his favour, Parrikar’s writ that the next chief minister should be among the BJP legislators also prevailed in the final analysis,” a party source said.
Sawant’s benevolent nature came into public gaze when a video of Sawant attending to a road accident victim while he was on his way to the Assembly went viral on social media some months ago. Sawant had also met RSS sarsanghchalak (chief) in October last year to pitch for his candidature for the chief minister’s post.
Former RSS sanghchalak, Subhash Velingkar, said that though Sawant had a stint in RSS, he had strong interest in politics and was, therefore, soon inducted into the BJP. “He functioned as the ‘boudhik pramukh’ (in charge of ideological orientation programmes) of the RSS of Bicholim taluka. However, he didn’t get to spend much time in RSS activities as he soon plunged into politics,” Velingkar said.
BJP passes mantle over to GenNext in Goa, rewards loyalty – Times of India