Hours before Goa reshuffle, Cabinet posts yet to be vacated

Source: India Abroad News Service

July 13 (IANS) The Goa Cabinet is yet to have the vacancies for which four new ministers are scheduled to be sworn-in in a few hours. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had on Friday asked four Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, to resign, in order to replace them with new faces.

However, the Ministers have failed to quit their Cabinet positions, leaving the expectant MLAs on tenterhooks as their oath-taking is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday. Though Sardesai claims the issue will be resolved “amicably”.

Back from a two-day visit to Delhi, Sawant told reporters at the Dabolim international airport late on Friday that he had asked Sardesai as well Ministers Vinod Palienkar, Jayesh Salgaocar (Goa Forward Party MLA) and Rohan Khaunte (Independent MLA) to tender their resignations.

“Four new ministers will be sworn-in in their place,” said Sawant refusing to name the new set of ministers. However, none of the four have resigned as yet.

Former leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar is tipped to replace Sardesai as the Deputy Chief Minister.

BJP sources said following party cadres’ opposition, tainted lawmaker Atanasio Monserrate alias Babush, who was among the 10 MLAs inducted into the BJP on Wednesday, may not be inducted as a minister.

Monserrate was chargesheeted last year for allegedly drugging and raping a minor girl.

Instead his wife Jennifer will be sworn in as a minister. She who was also part of the group of Congress MLAs which merged into the ruling party earlier this week.

“Several party workers have expressed anguish at Atanasio Monserrate’s candidature as cabinet minister. As a compromise, his wife Jennifer will be sworn in. Babush has agreed to this,” a senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.

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