Goa and Sanquelim constituency, in particular, went into festive gear to celebrate the 50th birthday of Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, who, despite a few hiccups due to indecisiveness, has the welfare of the people in mind while administering the state.
Dr Pramod Sawant was first elected MLA in 2012 and, unlike many of his predecessors, took over the reign of Goa in seven years, having served as speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly from 2017 to 2019.
Manohar Parrikar was the first chief minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, and Dr Sawant took over after his death to become the eleventh chief minister of Goa.
Although his detractors have deemed him an “accidental chief minister of Goa”, Dr Pramod, after the last election, formed the first BJP government by winning twenty seats in an Assembly that consists of forty MLAs.
As chief minister, Dr Pramod Sawant has guided Goans through the pandemic – making sure vaccines were accessible to all, thus making Goa the first state to be fully vaccinated.
When the pendulum of success during Covid turned against Goa due to a shortage of oxygen, Dr Sawant stepped up to check the ills and got the health department functioning on the right rails again.
Employment is an issue plaguing Goa, and Dr Sawant believes that the people of Goa should stop depending on the government for jobs and instead look at the private sector.
“It is wrong to think that the government can employ all Goans. This is not possible and that is why it is important for Goans to start picking up jobs in the private sector,” believes Dr Sawant, who will have completed four years as chief minister of Goa.
“People out of state are grabbing all jobs in the private sector. The salaries of staff in all grant and aid institutions are borne by the government. The expenditure is huge, and people should start thinking on these terms,” believes the chief minister.
Goa has recently been embroiled in the River Mhadei tangle with the opposition crying hoarse that Goa has been sold out to appease the people of Karnataka for electoral purposes.
Dr Pramod Sawant has, all through the controversy, been assuring the people of Goa that River Mhadei is as dear to him as any Goan and that water will simply not be gifted away where not required for drinking or agricultural purposes.
Goa has seen a lot of infrastructural development and many programmes directly benefiting the people in all sectors of life, and now entering his golden years, he should be looking to take Goa, unscratched, to diamond times.