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Days after 10 Cong MLAs joined BJP, Goa CM to reshuffle cabinet on Saturday

Press Trust of India/Panaji 13 Jul 19 | 10:50 AM

Days after 10 Congress MLAs in Goa joined the BJP, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will reshuffle his cabinet on Saturday, dropping three members of ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) and an Independent legislator as ministers.

The swearing-in ceremony of new ministers is scheduled to be held at 3 p.m..

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

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.

The chief minister Friday said that he had asked three GFP MLAs and Independent lawmaker Rohan Khaunte to resign from his ministry as he would be inducting four new ministers.

Chandrakant Kavlekar, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Atanasio Monserratte, who had joined the BJP on Wednesday and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo would be sworn in at Raj Bhavan in the afternoon.

Sawant said that four existing ministers -- Deputy Chief minister Vijai Sardesai, Water Resources Department minister Vinod Palyekar, Rural Development minister Jayesh Salgaonkar (all three GFP MLAs) and Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte (Independent) would be dropped from the cabinet.

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.

Sawant had said that the decision was taken as per the directions of the BJP central leadership.

GFP president and Deputy CM Vijai Sardesai had said that they were hoping to resolve the crisis with amicable solution.

"Goa Forward Party is part of NDA and had joined the BJP-led government after talks with the national leadership of BJP," Sardesai had said.

"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," he had said.

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