Four new ministers to be inducted into Cabinet today; Kavlekar likely to be nominated DyCM
PANJIM: In a bid to accommodate four BJP Ministers, including three Congress defectors, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant on Friday asked all three Goa Forward Party (GFP) ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai and one Independent, to resign from the cabinet. Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte, Housing Minister Jayesh Salgaoncar and WRD Minister Vinod Palyencar have been asked to step down.
The swearing in ceremony of the new Ministers – Michael Lobo, Chandrakant Kavlekar, Atanasio Monserrate and Filipe Neri Rodrigues – is scheduled on Saturday at 3pm. Kavlekar, former Leader of the Opposition, is likely to be nominated as Deputy Chief Minister.
Speaking to Herald from Delhi, Sawant said that as per directions from the party High Command, he has asked four Ministers – three from GFP and one Independent – to resign, immediately. “I will be inducting four new BJP Ministers into the cabinet on Saturday,” Sawant said.
A group of 10 Congress MLAs led by Kavlekar merged their legislative wing with BJP on Wednesday. On Thursday the MLAs officially joined the saffron party in the presence of BJP working President JP Nadda. They later also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi along with Chief Minister and Deputy Speaker Lobo, who was the mastermind of the entire move.
Sardesai-led GFP had contested its first State
Assembly election in March 2017 and got three seats of the four it had contested.
The GFP MLAs and Khaunte, had supported late Manohar Parrikar to form a BJP-led coalition government after the saffron party failed to get a majority in March 2017 Assembly elections. Parrikar, who was then Defence Minister, had to come back to State politics to take charge as CM on the request of the alliance partners.
All four MLAs had continued to support BJP under Sawant, after the demise of Parrikar on March 17, this year. However, Sardesai, who was initially reluctant to support Sawant, was later nominated as Deputy Chief Minister.