Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said late on Friday night that he would reshuffle the cabinet on Saturday replacing four ministers and the swearing-in ceremony would be held at 3 pm.
Ten Congress MLAs had on Wednesday joined the BJP increasing the strength of the party to 27 on the floor of the House. The chief minister said the three members from coalition partner Goa Forward Party and an Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte would be dropped from the cabinet.
He refused to name the MLAs who would be inducted but said all the four would be from the BJP, with three of them from the legislators who joined the party on Wednesday. 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.
Sawant said the swearing-in ceremony would be held at 3 pm Saturday. This would 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.
Sawant has the support by three MLAs from the Goa Forward Party and an Independent. Goa Forward Party (GFP) chief and Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai had during the day said they are hoping for an amicable solution to the crisis.
"The GFP is a part of the NDA and had joined the BJP-led government after talks with the saffron party's national leadership," Sardesai said, adding, "The present state BJP leaders were not part of the discussions then. As such, we will take appropriate steps only after talking to NDA leadership at the Centre." "We have not yet received any official communication from the BJP leaders. On the contrary, we have received indications that the matter will be sorted out amicably," he said.
Ten of the 15 Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, switched sides and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday. 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....