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Goa Gets Four New Ministers in Cabinet Reshuffle, Chandrakant Kavlekar to Become New Deputy CM

Ten Congress MLAs had on Wednesday joined the BJP, increasing the strength of the party to 27 on the floor of the House.


Updated:July 14, 2019, 4:52 PM IST
Goa Gets Four New Ministers in Cabinet Reshuffle, Chandrakant Kavlekar to Become New Deputy CM
File photo of Chandrakant Kavlekar (Image: Twitter/ANI)

Panaji: Former leader of opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo were among the four legislators inducted into the Goa cabinet on Saturday. Kavlekar has will be sworn in as deputy chief minister of the state on Monday.

The leader, who was earlier leader of the opposition, would be designated as deputy chief minister on Monday, CM Pramod Sawant told reporters here on Sunday, but refused to divulge any further details.

Ten Congress MLAs had on Wednesday joined the BJP, increasing the strength of the party to 27 on the floor of the House.

The chief minister dropped three members from its coalition partner Goa Forward Party (GFP) and an Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte from the Cabinet on Friday. Jennifer Monserratte and Philip Neri Rodrigues were the other new ministers sworn in.

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at a ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in the afternoon.

Prior to the oath-taking, the chief minister issued a notification, dropping all GFP ministers — Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar, Rural Development Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar — and Independent MLA and Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte from the cabinet to accommodate the new members.

This is the second cabinet reshuffle by Sawant since he took over as chief minister three months ago. In the first reshuffle, Sawant had inducted MGP's breakaway MLA Deepak Pauskar after dropping the then deputy chief minister Sudin Dhavalikar.

Asked why allies are being dropped from the cabinet, the chief minister said the decision has been taken as per the directives of the central leadership. "I don't want to go into details. We have taken this decision to give good governance to the people," he said.

Sawant has the support of three GFP MLAs and an Independent lawmaker.

GFP president and Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai had earlier said he was hoping for an amicable solution to the crisis.

"The GFP is a part of the NDA and had joined the BJP-led government after talks with the saffron party's national leadership," Sardesai said. "The present state BJP leaders were not part of the discussions then. As such, we will take appropriate steps only after talking to NDA leadership at the Centre."

"We have not yet received any official communication from the BJP leaders. On the contrary, we have received indications that the matter will be sorted out amicably," he said.

Sardesai on Saturday said the induction of the 10 Congress MLAs was the "death of the legacy" of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar — the tallest saffron leader in the coastal state credited for forming the coalition government in 2017 by bringing together regional parties.

Ten of the 15 Congress MLAs, led by Kavlekar, switched sides and joined the BJP on Wednesday.

While the 10 MLAs and Lobo returned here from Delhi, Sawant stayed back to attend a high-level meeting on Friday evening on the issue of mining in Goa, which has come to a standstill following a February 2018 Supreme Court order.

With PTI inputs

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