Laxmikant Parsekar wards off dissenters to become Goa CM

Retains Parrikar's team

Laxmikant Parsekar wards off dissenters to become Goa CM

With strong backing from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Laxmikant Parsekar overcame the challenge of dissenters and was sworn in as the new chief minister of Goa on Saturday.

Parsekar succeeds Manohar Parrikar who will be inducted into the Union Cabinet on Sunday.

Nine others – seven from the BJP and two from its ally the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) – were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at Raj Bhavan. Parsekar is the third BJP leader with strong RSS links to be appointed chief minister in less than two months after Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana and Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra.

Parsekar retained Parrikar’s team, including the dissenters led by Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza, who had openly staked his claim to the top post.
The dissenters agreed to Parsekar's candidature after party observers—former Karnataka chief minister and BJP vice-president B S Yeddyurappa and senior leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy—assured them that their interests would be protected in the new dispensation.

Besides D’Souza, Dayanand Mandrekar, Ramesh Tawadkar, Mahadev Naik, Dilip Parulekar, Milind Naik, Alina Saldanha (all BJP), and Ramakrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar and Dipak Dhavalikar (from the MGP) took oath.

D’Souza will continue as the deputy chief minister.Earlier, Parsekar was unanimously elected leader of the BJP legislature party after the party’s parliamentary board met in New Delhi to clear his name. In a show of unity, Parsekar's name was seconded by D’Souza.

The deputy chief minister said: “Yesterday (Friday), the chief minister was being nominated. Today (Saturday) he has been elected by 21 MLAs. I cannot be upset with an election process. When there is an election and majority of MLAs vote for him, how can I be upset.”

“I don’t have the numbers with me. I will continue as deputy chief minister. It was the decision of the party and I have to abide by it,” he added. In the run-up to Parsekar’s election, Parrikar held parleys with BJP ministers, including D’Souza. Once their consent was obtained, Parrikar sent in his resignation to the governor on Saturday afternoon. He also met the Archbishop of Goa.

A smiling Parsekar said: “I have been a BJP worker for 25 years, I am a worthy candidate. Being a member of the RSS was one of the criteria to be elected as the chief minister.”

What went in favour of Parsekar was that he had joined the BJP when it was virtually a non-entity in Goa. An old RSS hand, Parsekar is said to have rebelled against his family to contest on a BJP ticket in his first Assembly election in 1988. His family were staunch supporters of the MGP, then a influential regional party.

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