New Delhi :
Pramod Sawant, Goa Assembly speaker and MLA from Sanquelim constituency, succeeded Manohar Parrikar as the new chief minister of the tiny coastal state in the wee hours on Tuesday. After Parrikar's demise on Sunday, the BJP chose Sawant - a relatively young leader - even as some alliance partners were against the decision.
Sawant, an Ayurveda practitioner by profession is a devoted Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) man and has risen through the party ranks. He was groomed by none other than Parrikar himself. He has held several positions in the BJP's youth wing before coming into prominence when he led a massive protest in 2011 against the then Congress government led by Digambar Kamat over alleged irregularities in the mining sector.
It was the 2011 protest when Parrikar noticed him and started grooming him. Parrikar, who was the leader of opposition in Goa Assembly at that time, helped him in getting a ticket for 2012 state Assembly elections. With the backing of "Goa's favourite son" himself, Sawant won the election from Sanquelim in 2012 and retained the seat in 2017. Earlier, he had contested by elections from Pale constituency in 2008 but lost.
It was Parrikar, who gave him the post of Goa Assembly speaker despite the fact that he was among the young legislator. According to a report published in The Hindustan Times, Parrikar also wanted Sawant to replace him as the chief minister and that was the reason he was chosen for the top job over senior leader Vishwajit Rane.
The 45-year-old leader was born to Pandurang and Padmini Sawant in Pale-Cotombi village. He obtained a Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery degree from the Ganga Education Society's Ayurvedic Medical College in Kolhapur and a postgraduate degree of Master of Social Work from the Tilak Maharashtra University at Pune. His wife - Sulakshana Sawant is a teacher at a school in Bicholim. She is also a BJP leader and currently heads the Goa unit of the BJP Mahila Morcha.