Herald: Hiccups later, Babu and friends get BJP scarfs of approval

Hiccups later, Babu and friends get BJP scarfs of approval

12 Jul 2019 06:39am IST

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12 Jul 2019 06:39am IST

Report by
Team Herald

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Four ministers from alliance members to be dropped; Kavlekar to be appointed DyCM; New ministers to be sworn in tomorrow

PANJIM/NEW DELHI: The political drama that commenced on Wednesday evening is likely to reach its climax on Saturday when Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant will reshuffle his cabinet by dropping four cabinet ministers from among the alliance partners and replacing them with BJP MLAs. 

Sawant who is in Delhi along with the ten former Congress MLAs has got clearance from BJP National President Amit Shah and Party’s Working President J P Nadda to induct Michael Lobo, Chandrakant Kavlekar, Atanasio Monserrate and Felipe Neri Rodrigues into the cabinet.

Highly placed sources confirmed that all the three Goa Forward Party ministers – Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, Housing Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar and WRD Minister Vinod Paliencar – along with Independent Minister Rohan Khaunte will be dropped from the cabinet. 

The swearing in of the new Ministers is scheduled on Saturday at 3.00pm. Kavlekar will be appointed as Deputy Chief Minister. 

The swearing-in ceremony initially slated for Friday has been postponed as the Chief Minister will be attending a high-level meeting on mining chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. 

The MLAs after merging with the BJP on Wednesday evening flew to New Delhi accompanied by Sawant and organising secretary Satish Dhond. Party’s State unit president Vinay Tendulkar who was in the national capital joined them.

Sources stated that Shah met Sawant and Tendulkar during the afternoon. Sawant had a one-to-one meeting with Shah, who is also the home minister, in his Parliament office, reportedly to discuss the reshuffle of his ministry. Sawant briefed him about the happenings and probable situation that could arise after dropping the alliance partners.

Even as the Congress MPs, led by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, protested in Parliament House over the ‘murder of democracy’ in engineering defection of the party MLAs, the chief minister said they have come over on their own to help push development work in Goa. 

This was endorsed by Kavlekar who said that they wanted development work in their constituencies and that was not possible if they were in the Opposition. He also pointed out the ‘struggle’ within the Congress due to the leadership crisis after Rahul Gandhi resigned, asserting that they could not have continued in such conditions.

As per the original schedule, the MLAs were supposed to meet Shah at 11 am, Nadda at 12 noon and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 4 p.m.

The group faced a minor set back to their Delhi plan, when the PM cancelled the appointment due to other engagements. They were also not able to meet Shah.

While the MLAs waited in New Delhi till afternoon, it was only in the evening that they got their first appointment meeting Nadda, who welcomed them into the party.

Pictures of MLAs led by Chandrakant Kavlekar wearing BJP’s traditional scarfs were flashed across social media. Sawant introduced each of the MLAs to the working president of the party.

“Nadda wished them all the best. He said that they should go back and work for the party and the State,” Sawant said after the meeting. At around 8.45pm they met Shah at his official residence in New Delhi.

Sawant said that they would be flying back to the State Friday morning. While he has refused to speak on the swearing in, Sawant said that the decision on coalition partners would be taken once he is back to Goa.

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