Panaji | Jagran Politics Desk: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda on Sunday confirmed that Dr Pramod Sawant would be the chief ministerial candidate for the saffron party in the crucial assembly election in Goa next year. Speaking to reports, Nadda, who is on a two-day visit to the coastal state, lauded Sawant for his leadership skills, adding that the BJP is looking forward to contesting the assembly polls under his guidance next year.

"Goa CM Pramod Sawant has done a very good job. Under his leadership, all-around development has taken place. We're going forward with him (as CM face). In BJP, Parliamentary Board makes the official declaration but there is no need to think about any other name," Nadda was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Nadda -- who met several state cabinet ministers, MLAs and party leaders during his two-day visit -- said that the BJP is "optimistic" about winning the elections, saying the saffron party has taken a "big leap in the past 4.5 years" in Goa.

"During my interactions with ministers and MLAs, I found that the MLAs are very optimistic and filled with confidence. A huge number of leaders have joined BJP from Congress. I held detailed discussions with them. They've praised BJP's working that makes me more optimistic," ANI quoted Nadda as saying.

In the previous assembly election in 2017, Congress had emerged as the single-largest party but the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had managed to retain power in the coastal state. Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was elected as the Chief Minister of Goa then.

However, Sawant assumed the office in 2019 after the unfortunate demise of Parrikar. He was sworn-in as chief minister on March 19, 2019.

Meanwhile, assembly election to elect the 40-member legislative assembly in Goa would be held in February or March next year. The term of current assembly will expire on March 15, 2022.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma