Pandemic: A joint responsibility

By on June 30, 2021
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Pandemic: A joint responsibility

As he completes two years as Chief Minister, Dr Pramod pandurang Sawant unravels the details of his journey to the hot seat, his vision of Swayampurna Goem during the 60th anniversary of Goa’s liberation and the challenges of micro-managing the COVID-19 outbreak

As you step into the office, the sight of a poised man, completely engrossed in conversation with various department officials greets you.

This is Goa’s chief minister, Dr Pramod Pandurang Sawant, an ayurveda physician who gave up his practice and government job with the Directorate of Health Services to serve the state. The former youth leader assumed the political mantle despite never having served as a minister in the state cabinet.

Following a Bachelor’s degree in ayurvedic medicine from the Ganga Ayurvedic Medical College (Mumbai University), he completed his Masters in social welfare from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, a deemed university in Pune.

Dr Sawant, who served as Speaker of the state legislative assembly in 2017, had been elected in 2012 and 2017 from Sanquelim constituency. He was also the former chairman of the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC). He even served as the vice president of the national Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth wing.

He rose up the ranks of the BJP through its youth brigade and was one of the younger leaders considered close to former chief minister and defence minister of India, late Manohar Parrikar. A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteer, Dr Sawant hails from Sanquelim, a key region in the North Goa mining belt.

Inspired and motivated by Manohar bhai and his father Pandurang Sawant, who himself had contested and won the Zilla Parishad (ZP) elections (2005-2010), Dr Sawant took a leap of faith and dived into the world of politics. It hasn’t been an easy road for him – fitting into the ‘larger-than-life’ shoes of Goa’s beloved visionary leader Manohar bhai, taking over the state administration amid political instability, and rising to the challenge to prove his worth.

Goa celebrates its 60th Liberation Day this December, and Dr Sawant, the first chief minister to be born post liberation, said he was fortunate to be serving the people of Goa at such an opportune stage in its history. In line with the Atmanirbhar Bharat call given by prime minister Narendra Modi, Dr Sawant envisioned the Swayampurna Goa programme, which aims to make Goa self-sufficient.

Just when he was getting into the groove, the biggest obstacle of all, COVID-19, brought a tsunami of challenges. Pressure from all sides began to build up and he fought… the fight still on.

Dr Sawant feels no one could anticipate things in a pandemic. You can be prepared but never completely sure. Despite the setbacks the state faced in the last few months, we appear to be crawling out of what can be called the darkest phase of the pandemic.

Chief minister Dr Pramod Sawant, who recently completed two years in the position, opens up to VIVA GOA in an exclusive interview about his life in politics.

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.

Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.

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