Days after 10 Congress MLAs in Goa joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, chief minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday reshuffled his cabinet, dropping three members of ally Goa Forward Party and an Independent legislator as ministers.
Michael Lobo, who resigned as the deputy speaker of Goa legislative assembly, and three of the 10 MLAs who had earlier this week joined the BJP -- Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jeniffer Monserratte, Philip Neri Rodrigues -- were sworn in as new ministers.
Goa governor Mridula Sinha administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at a ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in the afternoon.
Prior to the swearing-in, the chief minister issued a notification, dropping all three Goa Forward Party ministers -- deputy chief minister Vijai Sardesai, water resources minister Vinod Palyekar, rural development minister Jayesh Salgaonkar -- and Independent MLA and revenue minister Rohan Khaunte from the cabinet to accommodate the new members.
Outgoing deputy chief minister of Goa, Vijai Sardesai, on Saturday said the induction of ten MLAs of the Congress into the BJP was the "death of the legacy" of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the tallest saffron leader in the coastal state credited for forming the coalition government in 2017 by bringing together regional parties.
"Parrikar died twice...once on March 17 physically while today it is the death of his political legacy," Sardesai told a gathering held near Parrikar memorial at Miramar.
Meanwhile, Sardesai also announced that the Goa Forward Party 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," he said.
Sardesai reiterated that he had not received 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.
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.
This is the second cabinet reshuffle by Sawant since he took over as the chief minister three months ago.