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Home » Goa cabinet reshuffle: 3 Congress defectors take oath as ministers | India News

Goa cabinet reshuffle: 3 Congress defectors take oath as ministers | India News

PANAJI: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant dropped four ministers from his cabinet on Saturday and replaced them with three defectors from Congress and a BJP MLA.
Former opposition leader Chandrakant Kavalekar, former minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues and Jennifer Monserrate were administered oath of office by governor Mridula Sinha at Raj Bhavan. All three rebels were part of the 10-member Congress splinter group.
Calangute MLA and BJP leader Michael Lobo was also sworn-in as minister in the state cabinet.
Kavalekar, who led the Congress rebels to join the saffron party, is likely to be made deputy chief minister. He is a four-time MLA from Quepem.
Jennifer is the wife of Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate. Atanasio had wrested the seat from BJP which was represented by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar for nearly 25 years.
Rodrigues has served as a minister both in the BJP and Congress governments in the past.
Like Jennifer, Lobo has become a minister for the first time and has served as a deputy speaker.
Portfolios will be allocated to the four later in the day, sources said.
Chief minister Pramod Sawant, who took over the reins of the state following the demise of Parrikar, dropped three ministers of BJP’s ally – Goa Forward Party (GFP) – earlier in the day.
Deputy CM Vijai Sardesai, fisheries minister Vindo Paliencar, housing minister Jayesh Salgaonkar as well as Independent MLA from Porvorim Rohan Khaunte were dropped by the Sawant-led government.
Following Sardesai’s move, GFP said it would withdraw support to the government.
In the 40-member house, BJP has 27 MLAs, Congress five, GFP three, Independents three and NCP one.
‘Death of Parrikar’s legacy’
Outgoing deputy chief minister Vijai Sardesai said the induction of ten MLAs of the Congress into the BJP was the “death of the legacy” of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar.
The Congress in Goa had suffered a body blow earlier this week when 10 of its 15 MLAs switched over to the BJP, a development that raised the ruling stock in the 40-member House to 27.
Subsequently, chief minister Pramod Sawant dropped four ministers – three of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), including Sardesai, and one Independent – from his cabinet.
“Parrikar died twice…once on March 17 physically while today it is the death of his political legacy,” Sardesai told a gathering held near Parrikar memorial at Miramar.
Sardesai added that two days before Parrikar died, he had met him, and the ailing chief minister had requested him to continue his support to the BJP-led coalition government even after his death for the full term of five years.
“I asked him (Parrikar) what is in your mind about the road ahead after you. He was bleeding from his lungs. He said, ‘Vijai both of us came together for five years, irrespective of whether I am there or not,’ That is why we had supported Pramod Sawant,” Sardesai said.
The former deputy CM said that because of his commitment to Parrikar, he did not join any attempt to overthrow the BJP-led coalition government, although he had a “standing offer” for more than a year, from the Congress to switch sides and become CM.
(With inputs from PTI)

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