A day after taking oath as the Goa chief minister, Pramod Sawant on Wednesday breezed through the floor test in the Assembly by a 20 vs 15 vote count and despite near-desperate bids made by Congress to take over.
After the death of four-time CM Manohar Parrikar, Congress had staked claim to form the government. A small delegation had even met Governor Mridula Sinha on Monday. By the wee hours of Tuesday, Sawant - BJP's choice candidate - had already taken oath. This despite moves by BJP's own allies to have their respective candidate as CM.
It is learnt that BJP chief Amit Shah had sent Nitin Gadkari to ensure that Congress stays at bay in the coastal state. Gadkari is also believed to have had the added responsibility of working out a working formula with alliance partners Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. Their support was crucial in the floor test that Sawant eventually passed with flying colours.
What made the floor test crucial was that because Congress is the single-largest party in the Assembly, BJP - once again - required the unwavering support of its allies in Goa. GFP's Vijai Sardesai and MGP's Sudin Dhavalikar were named deputy CMs in a move looked at satiating their political ambitions. With the alliance re-cemented, Congress appeared sidelined once again.
Gadkari reportedly played a key role in ensuring that the BJP-led alliance in Goa remains intact - much like the role he had played in ensuring that BJP - in alliance - forms the government after the 2017 Assembly election here. At the time, BJP had come from behind to pip Congress and cross the finish line.