Hours before Goa Cabinet reshuffle, CM Pramod Sawant drops four ministers
Ahead of a reshuffle of the state cabinet, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant dropped four ministers -- three of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and one Independent -- from his cabinet on Saturday.
A notification to this effect was issued in the afternoon.
According to the notification, the four ministers -- Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar, Rural Development Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar (all GFP MLAs) and Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte (Independent) -- were dropped from the cabinet.
They would be replaced with Michael Lobo, who resigned as Deputy Speaker of Assembly earlier in the day, and three of the 10 MLAs, who switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the Congress on Wednesday.
"I Michael Lobo, Deputy Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly, hereby tender my resignation as a Deputy Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly with effect from July 13," stated Lobo's resignation letter to Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar.
Earlier in the day, Lobo had confirmed that he will resign and join the cabinet as a minister. "I will resign and will be sworn-in as a minister in the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant government," he said.
This new political development comes hours before the expected Goa cabinet reshuffle to accommodate the Congress defectors who joined BJP recently.
The swearing-in ceremony of new ministers is scheduled to be held at 3 pm at Raj Bhavan.
Lobo also said apart from him, Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jeniffer Monserratte and Philip Nery Rodrigues would be a part of the new cabinet.
Taleigao MLA Jeniffer Monserratte is the wife of Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserratte. Earlier there were speculations that he would be inducted into the cabinet.
Lobo said, "Atanasio Monserratte refused to take up the ministerial berth and instead requested the chief minister to make his wife a part of the cabinet."
Earlier, CM Pramod Sawant sought the resignation of four of his ministers - three of Goa Forward Party and an independent.
Rajesh Patnekar had also confirmed that Lobo would resign and be sworn-in as a minister later in the day. He said that the Assembly will function as per schedule.
"Though new ministers are being inducted, the Assembly will go as per schedule. The new ministers will have to study their portfolios while answering the questions on the floor of the House. As far as I am concerned there is no rescheduling of the Assembly and Congress party will have to give the name of Leader of Opposition by Monday," Patnekar said.
(With inputs from agencies)