Days after 10 Congress MLAs in Goa joined the BJP, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Saturday reshuffled his cabinet, dropping three members of ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) and an Independent legislator as ministers on Saturday.
Michael Lobo, who resigned as the deputy speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly, and three of the 10 MLAs who had earlier this week joined the BJP -Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jeniffer Monserratte, Philip Neri Rodrigueswere sworn in as new ministers on Saturday at 3 PM. Goa Governor Mridula Sinha administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at a ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in the afternoon.
Prior to the swearing-in, the chief minister had issued a notification, dropping all three Goa Forward Party (GFP) ministers - Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar, Rural Development Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar - and Independent MLA and Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte from the cabinet to accommodate the new members.
Strengthened by the recent joining of 10 MLAs into BJP, Sawant decided to drop the GFP, a regional party that was instrumental in forming the Manohar Parrikar-led government in 2017.
This is the second cabinet reshuffle by Sawant since he took over as the chief minister 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.
Asked why allies are being dropped from the cabinet, the chief minister said the decision has been taken as per directives of the central leadership.
"I don't want to go into details. We have taken this decision to give good governance to the people," he said.
Ten of the 15 Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, switched sides and joined the BJP on Wednesday, increasing the strength of the party to 27 in the 40-member House.
While the 10 MLAs and Lobo returned here from Delhi, Sawant stayed back to attend a high-level meeting on Friday evening on the issue of mining in Goa, which has come to a standstill following a February 2018 Supreme Court order.