Outgoing deputy chief minister and Goa Forward Party (GFP) president Vijay Sardesai on Saturday said the induction of ten Congress MLAs into the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the "death of the legacy" of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the tallest saffron leader in the coastal state. Parrikar had been credited for forming the coalition government in 2017 by bringing together regional parties, including the GFP. The GFP was said to be instrumental in forming the Parrikar government in 2017.
Speaking at a gathering held near Parrikar memorial at Miramar, Sardesai said, "Parrikar died twice...once on March 17 physically while today it is the death of his political legacy".
Accusing the ruling government of destroying Parrikar's legacy, the GFP leader further said, "We supported the Pramod Sawant government because I had given my word to Parrikar that the support to the government will continue in any circumstances. We now feel cheated and ditched by the NDA".
"We will not allow the government to finish Parrikar's legacy," he reiterated. "The central leadership of the BJP has lost its face. The NDA has ditched their partners," Sardesai went on to claim, adding that they did not recieve any communication from Central leaders of the BJP regarding the latest developments.
Sardesai's statements comes hours after Water Resources Department minister Vinod Palyekar, Rural Development minister Jayesh Salgaonkar, Independent minister Rohan Khaunte and he himself were dropped from the Goa Cabinet, led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
All these ministers have been replaced by Chandrakant Kavlekar, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Atanasio Monserratte, who joined the BJP on Wednesday and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo. The swearing-in ceremony of new ministers took place around 3 pm at Raj Bhavan this afternoon.
The Congress in Goa suffered a body blow Wednesday 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. Strengthened by the support of these rebel Congress MLAs, Sawant decided to drop three of the GFP ministers and one Independent from his Cabinet. He said the decision was taken as per the directions of the BJP central leadership.
This was 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.