Panaji, Dec 27 (GCCurrentAffairs) Change of guard, by-elections, ill-health of former Chief Minister Late Manohar Parrikar, rebel in Congress and cabinet reshuffle were the political activities which remained in limelight in Goa in 2019.
Parrikar’s health continued to deteriorate as the year began forcing him to remained confined at his private residence at Dona Paula near the city. The party had started search for new candidate for the post of chief minister but change of guard took place only after demise of the former defence minister.
Post Parrikar’s death the Speaker and Sankhali MLA Pramod Sawant was sworn-in as Chief Minister of the state. But with coincided it division in Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). Two MLAs of MGP broke way from the party and joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The MLAs –Manohar Azgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar—were inducted into Sawant cabinet with Mr Azgaonkar getting post of Deputy Chief Minister.
By-elections for three Assembly seats were held on April 23, 2019. The three seats were Mapusa, Shiroda and Mandre. While by-elections to Shiroda and Mandrem were necessitated due to resignation of MLAs from the post after quitting Congress and subsequently joining Bharatiya Janata Party, by-election for Mapusa was held due to death of MLA and former Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza. On May 19, 2019, by-election to Panaji assembly constituency was held. This was necessitated due to death of Parrikar. All the seats witnessed multi-cornered contest but eventually BJP managed to win three seats while Congress one.
In the month of July, ten Congress MLAs revolted against the party and joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This changed political equation in the state strengthening position of BJP in the state assembly. It also emboldened Chief Minister Pramod Sawant who unceremoniously removed then Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sardesai, Water Resources Minister Vinod Paleykar, Ports Minister Jayesh Salgaokar and IT Minister Rohan Khaunte from his cabinet and inducted rebel Congress MLAs, alloting Deputy Chief Minister’s post to former Leader of Opposition Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar.
Among the ten MLAs was Panaji MLA Atanasio Monseratte who had contested and won Panaji by-election as Congress candidate and later joined BJP.
As Leader of Opposition and Quepem MLA joined BJP, Congress appointed former Chief Minister and Margao MLA new Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
The exodus of Congress MLAs from the party reduced its number of MLAs in the state assembly from 15 to five while number of MGP MLAs got reduced to one from three.
In the general elections held in April and May, two Lok Sabha seats – South Goa and North Goa- went for polls. While South Goa went to Congress, North Goa reposed faith in BJP, thus both the parties winning one seats each.