Panaji: New Goa CM Pramod Sawant on Tuesday exuded confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would retain both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa in Elections 2019. Sawant who—along with two deputies—was sworn in as the Goa chief minister in the wee hours of Tuesday, spoke to Mint at the BJP office in Panaji. He will visit Delhi on 21 March to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
You became the Goa chief minister after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari came to Goa yesterday.
Modiji and Amitbhai had come to pay homage to Manoharbhai. Only Gadkariji was talking to the BJP legislators and allies and was associated with government formation.
Are you confident of wining the floor test in the legislative assembly tomorrow?
I am absolutely confident. The BJP has the requisite numbers and we will clear the test. With our 12 legislators and nine legislators from the allies, we have 21 MLAs.
The Congress has alleged that your swearing-in is illegal because it is the single largest party. It has also threatened to legally challenge the swearing-in.
The Congress is free to do whatever it wants. I don't need to comment on what Congress says or does.
After the demise of a stalwart like Manohar Parrikar, how confident are you about the BJP retaining the two Lok Sabha seats in Goa?
We will retain both the seats simply because there is a nationwide momentum for "Phir Ek Baar, Modi Sarkar". Our allies Maharashtravadi Gomantak Paksha (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP), as well as independents are with us, and we would unitedly fight the Lok Sabha elections and retain both South and North Goa seats. Not only the Lok Sabha seats, but we will also win the three assembly bypolls on 23 April with the support of our allies.
Since you were the assembly speaker before you became the chief minister, who would conduct the floor test?
I resigned yesterday but we have the deputy speaker Michael Lobo who would conduct the floor test. We don't need to have a pro-tem speaker for the floor test.
What are your priorities as the new Goa CM?
I intend to focus on infrastructure development, governance, and human development of Goa. As the chief minister, I have an added responsibility but I am confident of getting support from all my colleagues and other ministers.