Three former Congress legislators in Goa were sworn in as Cabinet ministers at an event at Raj Bhavan at 3 pm on Saturday, two days after they defected to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party with seven of their colleagues, Prudent Media reported. BJP leader and Deputy Assembly Speaker Michael Lobo was also inducted into the Cabinet.
Chandrakant Kavlekar, the former leader of Opposition, was sworn in as deputy chief minister. He replaced Goa Forward Party leader Vijai Sardesai, who was asked to step down along with colleagues Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Paliencar, and Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte. The other Congress leaders sworn in are Jeniffer Monserrate and Filipe Neri Rodrigues.
Earlier in the day, the Goa governor accepted the chief minister’s recommendations to drop the four ministers.
Meanwhile, hours before the swearing-in ceremony, Sardesai announced his party was withdrawing its support to the government. Sardesai pointed out that the Goa Forward Party had stood by the BJP-led government when former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was not well, and claimed the saffron party’s central leadership was not willing to talk to him as it cannot justify its actions, Herald Goa reported.
“This party is a part of the NDA and we have been ditched,” he said. “We supported Manohar Parrikar. Bhai’s bhakts [Parrikar’s supporters] will know who stood by him, the government.” Sardesai said the BJP’s actions had killed Parrikar’s political legacy.