4 ministers sacked to induct new MLAs into Goa Cabinet

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant (PTI File Photo)

In a tale of contrasts, Goa's four sacked ministers held a protest meeting at the proposed site of ex-chief minister late Manohar Parrikar memorial in Panaji, even as a short distance away at Raj Bhavan, their four replacements were sworn-in as ministers on Saturday evening. 

The four ministers who have been inducted into the cabinet are the former leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar—who led the Congress splinter group, which later merged into the BJP—former Congress MLAs Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Neri Rodrigues and BJP MLA Micahel Lobo, who resigned as deputy speaker earlier today.

The MLAs sacked as ministers are Vijay Sardesai, Vinod Paliencar, and Jayesh Salongakar from Goa Forward Party and Rohan Khaunte, an independent MLA.

After the ceremony, the chief minister told the media that the decision to sack four ministers on Saturday and welcome 10 Congress MLAs into the party on Wednesday were taken with the objective of having a government with full majority.

"Every party wants a government with a full majority... The decision to drop the four ministers was taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party central leadership," Sawant said. In the 12-member cabinet led by Sawant, currently, there is only one non-BJP MLA—Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude, who is an independent legislator.

Earlier on Saturday, soon after they were sacked from the cabinet by Sawant, the four ministers led by former deputy chief minister Vijai Sardesai held a protest meeting at the site where Parrikar's memorial is expected to be constructed. They accused Sawant and the BJP central leaders of trying to finish off the former defence minister's legacy, by knocking the four ministers out of the cabinet.

"When Stalin died in Russia, there was a period under (Nitika) Khruschev called de-Stalination, when Stalin's legacy was undone. This is going on in Goa. Attempts are being made to wipe out Parrikar's legacy," Sardesai said. He accused central BJP leaders of not having the guts to directly communicate their decision to sack him from the cabinet. 

"They do not have the moral courage to do that, because it was Parrikar, two days before he died, who requested me to continue support to this government after his death," Sardesai told reporters.

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