Manohar Parrikar Drops Two Ailing Ministers from Cabinet, Sulking D'Souza Says It's 'Reward' for Loyalty
Parrikar recommended the dropping of D'Souza, who was heading the urban development department, and Madkaikar, who was the power minister, from the cabinet, the official in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
File photo of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar (PTI)
Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has dropped two ailing ministers from his cabinet, who would be replaced with new faces. Both the BJP ministers — Francis D'Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar — are currently admitted at hospitals.
The development comes at a time when 62-year-old Parrikar is undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. Parrikar recommended the dropping of D'Souza, who was heading the urban development department, and Madkaikar, who was the power minister, from the cabinet, the official in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
Madkaikar was admitted to a private hospital in Mumbai after he suffered a brain stroke in June, while D'Souza is undergoing treatment at a hospital in the US. They would be replaced with BJP legislators Milind Naik and Nilesh Cabral, the official said.
Naik and Cabral will be administered the oath of office by Governor Mridula Sinha Monday evening.
Naik was the power minister in the previous Laxmikant Parsekar-led cabinet, while Cabral would be sworn in for the first time.
D'Souza expressed displeasure over his removal, wondering if this was the reward given to him by the party for his 20-year-long loyalty. "This is the reward I am getting for my loyalty to the party for the last 20 years," D'Souza, who is currently admitted at a hospital in the US, told PTI on phone.
The MLA, who got elected on the BJP ticket from Mapusa constituency in North Goa district for the past two decades, claimed he was not even taken into confidence before being dropped from the cabinet.
"I had even spoken to the chief minister last evening but he did not give any hint... When I called him today after coming to know that I was being dropped, the chief minister said it was the party high command's decision," said the MLA, who was heading the urban development department.
D'Souza claimed the party was trying to remove him from the cabinet for the past one year. "Finally, they did it," he said. "Today they have dropped me from cabinet. Tomorrow they will remove me from the party, if I am useless for them," he said.
D'Souza, one of the senior most ministers in the cabinet, was a contender for the chief minister's post in 2014 when Parrikar was elevated as the defence minister in the central government. The legislator, however, had lost the chance to party colleague Laxmikant Parsekar, who then became the chief minister.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah had said Sunday that Parrikar would continue in his post and announced that a reshuffle of the state's ministers would soon take place.
Parrikar's poor health has sparked speculation over his continuation as chief minister of Goa, and Shah recently sent a team of central party leaders to the state to speak to allies and take stock of the political situation.
The opposition Congress, which is the single-largest party in the state with 16 MLAs in the 40-member Assembly, has staked claim to form the government.
However, the BJP has asserted that its government continues to have the support of a majority of MLAs.
The state is being ruled by the BJP with the support of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Independent MLAs.
The BJP has 14 seats in the Assembly, the GFP and the MGP have three each and the NCP has one. There are also three Independent legislators.
(With PTI inputs)
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