Congress defectors, including former Leader of Opposition in Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar, and a BJP leader were on Saturday inducted into the Goa Cabinet while three Goa Forward party leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sardesai, and an Independent were sacked as the state cabinet was reshuffled. A Congress rebel, Kavlekar will replace Sardesai as Deputy Chief Minister.
Kavlekar, along with two other Congress rebels--Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Nery Rodrigues. and BJP MLA Michael Lobo, oath as ministers in the government headed by Pramod Sawant at a ceremony in which Governor administered the oath of office and secrecy to them. However, portfolios of the new ministers have not been allocated. Lobo, earlier resigned as Deputy Speaker to join the government.
"I welcome these MLAs and want to thank them and urge them to work for the welfare for the people of Goa. Kavlekar, a former Leader of the Opposition, would be appointed Deputy Chief Minister and a notification formally allocating portfolios to the four new inductees could be issued by Monday," said Sawant with Kavlekar by his side. Kavlekar said that Congress' internal politics forced him to change sides.
"I have taken this decision keeping the interest of my constituency in my mind. Not every work can be accomplished when you are in opposition. We have given Congress a chance but internal politics of the Congress have forced us to take this step," he said. "I want to thank honourable CM all the members of Bharatiya Janata Party who made this possible for me My first priority would be my constituency and the whole state of Goa," said Jennifer Monserrate.
Apart from Sardesai, those sacked from the ministry are Rohan Khaunte, Vinod Paliencar, and Jayesh Salongakar. Earlier, Sawant had sought the resignation of four of his ministers--three of Goa Forward Party and an independent--but they refused.
On the night of July 10, Chief Minister Sawant had gone to Delhi along with 10 MLAs to meet senior BJP leaders including working president JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the development. Following this, the rebel MLAs joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. With 10 MLAs changing the sides, the strength of Congress on the floor of the House has been reduced to five.
The MLAs who defected include Kavlekar, Isidore Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Jennifer, Atanasio Monserrate, Antonio Fernandes, Nilakanth Halarnkar, Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D'Sa. (ANI)
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