Panaji, March 20 (IANS) Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday won the trust vote in the Goa Assembly and pledged to carry forward his late predecessor Manohar Parrikar’s vision of “positive thinking”.
Twenty of the 36 members in the House voted for the coalition government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while 15 opposed the motion.
After the vote, opposition MLAs accused Governor Mridula Sinha of being partisan and facilitating “trading of MLAs” even as Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said that the Congress would not try to topple the Sawant-led government but instead wait for the ruling coalition to “topple under their collective greed”.
The 20 legislators who voted for the motion included 11 from the BJP, 3 each of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party and 3 Independents while 15 MLAs (14 Congress and 1 NCP) opposed the motion.
The ‘magic number’ for a simple majority in the 36-member House was 19. The trust vote was overseen by Acting Speaker and BJP MLA Michael Lobo.
Addressing the Assembly after winning the trust vote, an emotional Sawant said: “Manohar Parrikar had given a message before passing away about being positive. If we go ahead with this message, we can build a bright future for Goa.”
The 45-year-old Chief Minister also said that the philosophy of his government would be the Antodaya principle, which involves reaching out to the most marginalised sections of society.
“And for that to work, it is not just up to a CM or MLA, but every member of society. For this I would the need help of every Goan,” Sawant said.
Sawant, named the Chief Minister on Tuesday, said that portfolios would be allotted later in the day and he would head to Delhi to meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
Speaking about the Lok Sabha elections and by-elections, Sawant said: “I believe this is a challenge for me and definitely we will win this challenge. We will win both Lok Sabha seats and the Assembly seats.”
A highlight of the brief session was the presence of ailing BJP MLA Pandurang Madkaikar, who suffered a brain stroke in June 2018 and had not made a public appearance since then.
Just before the floor test was ordered by Acting Speaker Michael Lobo, the latter allowed Madkaikar to raise his hand, while sitting in his chair and not stand in agreement or against the motion like the rest of the MLAs, because of his physical disability.
When Madkaikar did raise his hand in support of Sawant-led coalition government, it was with the help of an Assembly marshal who had to hold the BJP’s MLA hand upright.
The other significant development was the switchover of NCP MLA Churchill Alemao from the treasury to the Opposition.
His decision comes at a time when his daughter Valanka is angling for a Congress ticket for the South Goa seat for the Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking to reporters after the trust vote, opposition leader Kavlekar said that it was the first time in recent history in Goa that the treasury benches won a trust vote with a count of 20.
“Never in the past has the majority winning number slipped below 21. This is the reality of how ‘popular’ this government is,” Kavlekar said.
He also slammed the Governor for refusing to invite the Congress to form a government despite being the single largest legislative party.
“She called those in the minority to form a government. The BJP had to perform a midnight circus and crack deals with MLAs to get to the number of 20,” Kavlekar said.