Goa CM Pramod Sawant asks 3 ministers to resign
The four ministers-- deputy CM Vijai Sardesai, Vinoda Paliencar, Jayesh Salgaocar of the GFP, and Rohan Khaunte, an independent MLA have been asked to resign.Updated: Jul 12, 2019 22:35 IST
Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Friday asked four ministers -- three from the ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) and one independent -- in his cabinet to put in their papers to make way for four new ministers.
The four ministers-- deputy CM Vijai Sardesai, Vinoda Paliencar, Jayesh Salgaocar of the GFP, and Rohan Khaunte, an independent MLA have been asked to resign. The swearing-in ceremony for the new ministers is tentatively scheduled for 3pm on Saturday.
The chief minister who was in Delhi on Friday told reporters that he had asked his cabinet colleagues to resign. “I have directed four ministers, three from the Goa Forward and one Independent Minister to resign as ministers as directed by the party High Command,” Sawant told reporters.
Swearing-in of the four new ministers-- Chandrakant Kavlekar, who until Wednesday was the Leader of Opposition, current deputy speaker Michael Lobo and two others, Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate and Filipe Neri Rodrigues will be tentatively held today.
An official statement regarding the changes in the cabinet is yet to be issued.
The GFP, however, claimed that they have not received any communication from the BJP’s central leadership.
“The Goa Forward Party is part of the NDA and had joined the BJP-led state government after talks with the national leadership of the BJP. The present state BJP leaders were not part of the discussions then. As such we will take appropriate steps only after talking with the NDA leadership at the Centre. We have not yet received any official communication from the BJP central leadership. On the contrary,we have received indications that the matter will be sorted out amicably,” the party said in a statement.
Earlier in the day deputy speaker Michael Lobo claimed that the decision to do away with the alliance partner GFP was because it was trying to arm twist the government.
“The chief minister said that he was unhappy with functioning of certain ministers as they were taking people for granted. They were acting as if they were the government. The CM will do the correction that is needed,” Lobo said.
When asked to elaborate on specific instances where he felt the ministers he referred to were arm-twisting the government, Lobo declined. “I think what I have said is very obvious. Everything will be clear by tomorrow,” Lobo said.
Wilfred D’Sa, another Congress MLA who switched sides said he joined specifically with the intent to ensure that the GFP was evicted from the ruling side.
“People were very disappointed with Vijai Sardesai because of the formalin issue (Sardesai was accused of shielding fish traders guilty of lacing fish brought in from other states with formalin, a cancer causing preservative) as well as because of ‘destroying Goa,” D’Sa said. “He, as town and country planning minister was allowing opening eco sensitive and forested lands for development. The people did not want this,” he added.
Sardesai remained unavailable for comment.
On Wednesday, 10 Congress MLAs split from the party and ‘merged’ with the BJP.
The 10 legislators, who will not attract censure under the anti-defection law because they form two-thirds of the Congress in the state, were inducted into the BJP in the presence of working president JP Nadda and chief minister Pramod Sawant.
With 10 Congress MLAs joining the BJP, latter’s strength in the 40-member assembly has gone up to 27 while the Congress’s has reduced to five. The BJP now does not need the support of the GFP or independent MLAs .