Goa Opposition Leader, Who Joined BJP, To Be Made Deputy Chief Minister


Chandrakant Kavlekar was among the 10 Congress MLAs who joined the BJP last Wednesday.


The four new ministers inducted into the Goa cabinet would be allotted portfolios on Monday,Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.

Chandrakant Kavlekar, who was earlier leader of the opposition, would be designated as deputy chief minister, Mr Sawant told reporters in Panaji on Sunday, but refused to divulge any further details.

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

Michael Lobo, who resigned as deputy speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly, and three of the 10 MLAs who joined the BJP — Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jeniffer Monserratte, PhilipNeri Rodrigues — were sworn in as new ministers. The monsoon session of the state Assembly begins on Monday.

Asked how the new ministers would handle questions inthe House, Mr Sawant said, "I will be there to help them."

Ten Congress MLAs last Wednesday joined the BJP, increasing the BJP's strength to 27 in the 40-member House.

Prior to the swearing-in on Saturday, Mr Sawant issued a notification, dropping all three GFP leaders — 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.

Mr Sardesai said the induction of 10 Congress MLAs into the BJP was the "death of the legacy" of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who was a towering figure in politics of the coastal state.

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