Panaji: A day after BJP central leaders reportedly gave an informal nod to Goa’s caretaker Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to prepare for a second stint, another contender to the post and former Health Minister Vishwajit Rane lost his cool on Thursday March 17 when he was questioned about the Chief Ministership issue, which was a subject of heated political speculation.
Rane, who was in Panaji to pay homage to former Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar on the occasion of the latter’s death anniversary, told media persons not to ask him faltu (useless) questions, when he was asked to comment on developments related to the race for the chief minister’s post.
“Do not ask me faltu questions. Media’s job is to create sensation. Don’t ask me anything faltu. I have come to offer condolences to my leader. You ask these questions to the central leadership,” Rane said.
Rane, a former Congress leader, and Sawant are both traditional political rivals and have had run-ins in the past in a cabinet led by the latter from 2019-2022.
While Sawant, who led the party to its best ever electoral tally of 20 seats without the benefit of coalition allies, was tipped to be Chief Minister this time round too. But Rane allegedly also tried to stake his claim for the top post.
The former Health Minister has formally denied any attempt on his part to bid for the top chair, after a sudden meeting with Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai last week which set the political circles abuzz about a contest for the top post between Rane and Sawant.
On Tuesday, his wife Deviya Rane, a newly elected MLA from the Poriem assembly constituency, also created a flutter when she said that like all elected legislators, her husband too was ready to accept the top political seat.
“Of course any elected representative can be ready and he is a very experienced politician for the last 15 years. But the final decision is of the central leadership,” Deviya Rane had told reporters.
She however said that there was no dissent over the choice of chief minister within the BJP, adding that the decision was left to the party high command.
Sawant’s credentials for chief ministership were reportedly endorsed after his visit to the national capital on Wednesday when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president J.P. Nadda among other central BJP leaders.
Sawant however maintains that the final decision on the issue would be taken by the party’s central leadership, while adding that his visit to the national capital was related to the post election formalities of the party.
“Me, the state party president and senior party officials went to Delhi to submit election reports. We went to say thanks to the party leaders,” Sawant said.