3 Cong Rebels Sworn in as Goa Ministers, GFP ‘Withdraws’ Support
BJP Working President JP Nadda with Goa CM Pramod Sawant, Chandrakant Babu Kavlekar and other Goa Congress rebel MLAs in New Delhi on 11 July. 
BJP Working President JP Nadda with Goa CM Pramod Sawant, Chandrakant Babu Kavlekar and other Goa Congress rebel MLAs in New Delhi on 11 July. (Photo: Kamal Kishore/PTI)

3 Cong Rebels Sworn in as Goa Ministers, GFP ‘Withdraws’ Support

Goa Congress’ rebel MLAs Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Nery Rodrigues, who had quit on 10 July and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were sworn in as ministers in the state Cabinet on Saturday, 13 July.

Kavlekar, a former Leader of Opposition, is likely to be appointed the deputy chief minister.

The lone BJP minister to be sworn in is Michael Lobo, who resigned as the deputy Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly earlier on Saturday.

Ten Congress MLAs had joined the BJP on 10 July, increasing the strength of the party to 27 in the 40-member House.

Earlier, the state governor accepted the recommendation of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant that Goa Forward Party (GFP) MLAs Vijay Sardesai, Vinoda Paliencar and Jayesh Salgaonkar, as well as Independent Rohan Khaunte, cease to be members of the Council of Ministers.

Sawant’s Snub to GFP After Acquiring 10 New MLAs

Speaking to The Indian Express on Friday, CM Sawant had said he had asked the GFP ministers and Independent Rohan Khaunte to resign, and that the former Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar would be the new deputy CM, replacing GFP’s Vijai Sardesai.

Strengthened by their support, Sawant decided to drop the GFP, a regional party that was instrumental in forming the Manohar Parrikar-led government in 2017.

Also Read : ‘Political Prostitution’: Goa Cong Leader After 10 MLAs Join BJP

‘Death of Parrikar’s Legacy,’ Says GFP, Withdraws Support

Outgoing deputy CM Vijai Sardesai on Saturday said the induction of ten MLAs of the Congress into the BJP was the "death of the legacy" of late CM Manohar Parrikar.

Tendulkar said that even if late Manohar Parrikar had promised a full tenure to ministers of the ally Goa Forward Party (GFP), he is no more.

"Parrikar had promised, but unfortunately, he is not amongst us. After him, Pramod Sawant was made chief minister and he has taken the decision (to drop GFP ministers) as per the directions of the Central leadership," he said.

Sardesai had also said that he supported the Sawant government because Parrikar, before his death, had taken such an assurance from him.

“Parrikar died twice... once on 17 March physically, while today it is the death of his political legacy,” Sardesai told a gathering held near Parrikar memorial at Miramar.

Sardesai also announced that the Goa Forward Party (GFP) was "withdrawing" its support to the BJP-led government.

He alleged that the ruling government wanted to finish Parrikar's legacy, which won't be allowed.

“We supported the Pramod Sawant government because I had given my word to Parrikar that the support to the government will continue in any circumstances. We now feel cheated and ditched by the NDA.”
Vijai Sardesai

Sardesai reiterated that he had not recieved any communication from central leaders of the BJP. "The central leadership of the BJP has lost its face. The NDA has ditched their partners," he said.

‘Have Not Cheat Anyone’: CM Sawant

Sawant on Saturday rubbished allegations of the GFP that the BJP has "cheated" its allies by dropping them from Cabinet.

"We have not cheated anyone. We have taken the decision as per directions of our Central leadership," Sawant told reporters after swearing-in ceremony of four ministers.

The chief minister said he had approached the central leadership with a factual position that the BJP enjoys full majority with 27 MLAs by its side in the House of 40.

"I don't want to blame anyone. I just wanted to streamline administration," he added.

‘BJP Was Under Constant Fear of Dadagiri Under Old Ministers’: Lobo

Sawant had said that four existing ministers – Deputy CM Vijai Sardesai, Water Resources Department Minister Vinod Paliencar, Rural Development Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar (all three GFP MLAs) and Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte (Independent) – would be dropped from the Cabinet.

Speaking on the developments earlier, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo had been quoted by The Indian Express as saying, “For now I am happy that some old ministers are being taken out. There was a lot of threat they kept imposing that they will withdraw support if their work was not done… the BJP was under constant fear of their dadagiri. That has gone. The newly-inducted members come with good understanding.”

Also Read : Post Karnataka & Goa, Is Maharashtra Congress the Next to Implode?

Congress: BJP Involved in “Conspiracy”

The Congress party, on 15 July, alleged that the BJP was involved in the "conspiracy" in Karnataka and Goa, to lure their party legislators.

AICC Secretary Sanjay Dutt, in charge of the Congress party affairs in Puducherry said, with respect to Tamil Nadu, the BJP was of view that the Speaker of the Assembly was supreme to take decisions on matters relating to the House, PTI reported.

However, in Karnataka,the BJP was not ready to accept the authority of the Assembly Speaker even though he was adhering to the rule book and the procedure, he said.

Dutt was in Puducherry to participate in the candle light march and demonstration organised by PCC to condemn the "Operation Kamala" strategy of the BJP in Karnataka and Goa.

"The BJP leaders were involved in the conspiracy in Karnataka and Goa," he added.

(With inputs from PTI, The Indian Express and IANS.)

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