Days after 10 Congress MLAs joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, 3 GFP and one independent ministers have been dropped from the state Cabinet on Saturday. The ministers who were asked to step down from the minsitry, led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, are - Goa Forward Party (GFP) president and Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sardesai, Water Resources Department minister Vinod Palyekar, Rural Development minister Jayesh Salgaonkar and Independent minister Rohan Khaunte. All these ministers were directed to tender their resignations by Sawant on Friday evening. However, Govind Gawde, who is the other independent in the cabinet, will continue to serve as the revenue minister of the state.
Chandrakant Kavlekar, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Atanasio Monserratte, who joined the BJP on Wednesday and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo will replace the four outgoing ministers in Goa Cabinet. The swearing-in ceremony of new ministers will take place around 3 pm at Raj Bhavan this afternoon.
Talking about the latest development, Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar said, "Though new ministers are being inducted, assembly will go on as per schedule. New Ministers will have to study their portfolios while answering questions on floor of the House. Congress will have to give name of leader of opposition by 15 July".
Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar: Though new ministers are being inducted,assembly will go on as per schedule. New Ministers will have to study their portfolios while answering questions on floor of the House. Congress will have to give name of leader of opposition by 15 July pic.twitter.com/LIcd18QjT3— ANI (@ANI) July 13, 2019
In a major blow to the Goa Congress, ten of its MLAs had on Wednesday joined the BJP, increasing the strength of the ruling party to 27 in the 40-member House. Strengthened by their support, Sawant decided to drop the GFP, a regional party that was instrumental in forming the Manohar Parrikar-led government in 2017. Sawant said that the decision was taken as per the directions of the BJP central leadership.
This would the second cabinet reshuffle by Sawant since he took over as the chief minister of Goa following the death of Parrikar three months ago. In his first cabinet reshuffle, Sawant had inducted MGP's breakaway MLA Deepak Pauskar after dropping then deputy chief minister Sudin Dhavalikar.