Goa CM Pramod Sawant clarifies his Goan origin

Chided time and again, Goa CM Pramod Sawant clarifies his Goan origin

Sawant has been accused by some opposition leaders of heading a 'Sawantwadi government'

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. Credit: DH

Chided time and again by the Opposition who have often alleged that he is of Maharashtrian origin, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday clarified that he, along with his father and grandfather were all born in Goa.

"I was born in Goa. My father and grandfather were born in Goa too. I will have to find out my ancestral roots before my grandfather though. My kuldaivat (family deity) is Bhagwati and my village deity is at Kothambi," Sawant told reporters at a press conference in Panaji. The Devi Bhagwati temple and Kothambi village are both located in North Goa district.

Sawant has been accused by some opposition leaders, including former Deputy Chief Minister and Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai of heading a 'Sawantwadi government', while also questioning Sawant's roots.

Sawantwadi is a sub-district in Maharashtra's Sindhudurg district which borders Goa. Last year, the Chief Minister was also caught in the eye of a storm after the opposition accused him of purchasing large tracts of land spread over thousands of square meters in Sindhudurg district. 

Sawant had however maintained that the land had been purchased through a bank transaction.

While firmly reiterating his Goan roots, Sawant however, at the same time also let out a subtle missive against Sardesai -- who was his cabinet colleague in 2019 -- wondering how criticism about his lineage could come from someone who was born overseas.

Vijai Sardesai was born on 14 June, 1970, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

The to and fro between Sawant and Sardesai comes against a backdrop of a rising tide of 'regional pride', amid fears of large scale in-migration to the coastal state.