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Goa cabinet reshuffle leaves several MLAs irate, supporters fuming

Two ailing ministers were dropped earlier this week and two BJP legislators appointed as their replacements.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2018 18:52 IST
Goa cabinet reshuffle,Goa politics,Manohar Parrikar government
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha flanked by newly sworn-in BJP ministers Milind Naik (L) and Nilesh Cabral(PTI)

The reshuffle in the Goa’s Manohar Parrrikar-led coalition ministry has left many MLAs passed over for cabinet berths fuming and also angered their supporters who have warned of protests, including a water blockade, or rethinking their support to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Two ailing ministers were dropped earlier this week - urban development minister Francis D’Souza, who is being treated in a New York hospital and power minister Pandurang Madkaikar who suffered a brain stroke earlier in 2018. They were replaced by BJP MLAs Milind Naik and Nilesh Cabral respectively.

The move came after the BJP leadership ruled out a changing an ailling Parrikar, who is being treated for a pancreatic aliment in New Delhi and said that a cabinet reshuffle would take place.

Several other BJP legislators have expressed their dissent at not being considered for ministerial posts.

Bicholim MLA Rajesh Patnekar said: “Bicholim (sub district) did not get a ministry, so the BJP workers here have expressed anger and concern”. He hoped state party president Vinay Tendulkar would come to “quell the anger”.

Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo said he deserved to be part of the cabinet on account of his “dynamism” and said that people from his constituency wanted him to be a minister in order “to get their work done”. His exclusion had left party workers and other people “absolutely unhappy”, he added.

Goa’s taxi operators have been backing Calangute MLA Michael Lobo for a cabinet berth, failing which they said taxi operators would work against the BJP.

“There are 20,000 taxi operators in Goa. In the coming elections, we will reject the BJP if Michael Lobo is not given a ministry,” North Goa Taxi Driver’s Association president Laxman Korgaonkar said, reported IANS.

On the other hand, supporters of Independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar, who is with the ruling dispensation, have threatened to stop water supply from the Selaulim dam, located in his Sanguem assembly constituency, which provides water to nearly half of Goa, if he is not made a minister.

“The dam is in our panchayat. All industries and people in South Goa get water from the dam. We will start an agitation to stop water from the dam for at least eight days, if Prasad is not taken into the cabinet,” Sanjay Shirodkar, the Uguem Panchayat sarpanch said.

While BJP leaders were unwilling to formally comment on questions about the dissent, a party official said that there were only 12 cabinet berths and the party had to accommodate both their own MLAs as well as allies.

“We cannot accommodate everyone. The decision on whom to induct and whom to drop was taken by the Chief Minister, in consultation with the party high command. The cadre and MLAs will have to accept it,” the party official said on condition of anonymity, according to IANS.

Meanwhile, D’ Souza has has expressed his unhappiness over his removal and warned that he would resign from the party once he returns from the US.

The sudden removal of the two ministers has also left their families upset. “It comes as a shock, that he (D’Souza) wasn’t even informed prior to the decision being taken. It would have been good, if he had been taken into confidence,” said his son Joshua.

Madkaikar’s wife Janita said the BJP leaders should have at least shown the courtesy of informing them before sacking him.

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 18:52 IST