Goa: Four new ministers sworn-in, Chandrakant Kavlekar likely to be Deputy CM
Panaji, July 13: Four new ministers took oaths today and joined Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant's cabinet. Sawant on Friday dropped three members of ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) and an Independent MLA from his cabinet, to accomodate four new ministers.
Former leader of opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, who is said to led the other 9 Congress MLAs to defect and join BJP, and Michael Lobo, are among those who will join the cabinet today. Chandrakant Kavlekar is likely to be the deputy chief minister.
The swearing-in ceremony was held at 3 pm today. This would be 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.
Amid speculations of a cabinet re-shuffle in Goa on Friday, Speaker Michael Lobo said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was unhappy with functioning of certain ministers. While the Chief Minister had on Thursday ruled out any immediate reshuffle of his cabinet, he eventually relented and asked four current ministers to resign.
Speculations are rife that former leader of opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, Philip Nery Rodrigues and Atanasio Monserratte would be inducted in the cabinet along with Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo.
Ten Congress MLAs had on Wednesday joined the BJP increasing the strength of the party to 27 on the floor of the House.
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.
Sawant has the support by three MLAs from the Goa Forward Party and an Independent. The three GFP ministers who have been asked to resign are Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palyekar, and Jayesh Salgaonkar and the Independent MLA is Rohan Khaunte.
The GFP lent support to the BJP to form government in 2017 under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, and again in March 2019 when Sawant took over following Parrikar's death.