Laxmikant Parsekar is new Goa Chief Minister

Panaji: Laxmikant Parsekar, an old RSS hand who helped build BJP in Goa, was today sworn-in as Chief Minister of the coastal state after he snuffed out competition from his senior and Deputy CM Francis D’Souza to succeed Manohar Parrikar who was plucked for a Union Cabinet berth.

58-year-old Parsekar, an MLA from Mandrem, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan, along with nine other ministers– seven from BJP and two from its alliance partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).

Francis D’Souza, Dayanand Mandrekar, Ramesh Tawadkar, Mahadev Naik, Dilip Parulekar, Milind Naik, Alina Saldanha (all from BJP) and Ramakrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar and Dipak Dhavalikar (both from MGP), all of whom were ministers in the previous Manohar Parrikar government, have been retained in the Parsekar ministry.

“I am very happy to have been unanimously elected,” Parsekar said on being elected the leader at a meeting of the BJP Legislature Party soon after Parrikar resigned earlier today.

With strong backing from RSS and BJP, he quelled the challenge thrown by D’Souza, the senior-most minister in the Parrikar government and the catholic face of BJP who had yesterday staked claim to the post, citing his seniority.

His name was proposed by Parrikar and seconded by the D’Souza, who was mollified by the party leadership.

“Yesterday, the chief minister was being nominated. Today he has been elected by the 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,” D’Souza said.

D’Souza had said he will not join the new government if he was not made the Chief Minister. However, he was among those who were sworn-in this evening.

“I don’t have the numbers with me,” he said on queries about his claim to the post.

Parsekar is the third BJP leader with strong RSS links to be appointed as Chief Minister in less than two months after Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana and Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra.