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Goa's Cabinet reshuffle: Three Congress MLAs take oath as ministers in BJP government

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, CM Pramod Sawant, with newly introduced ministers. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI Panaji, Goa Jul 13, 2019, 06.32 PM (IST)

Four legislators, including three Congress defectors, on Saturday took oath as ministers in Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led BJP government here.

The three Congress legislators who were made ministers are Chandrakant Kavelkar, Jennifer Monserrate, and Filipe Nery Rodrigues.

This comes soon after four ministers -- Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sardesai, Rohan Khaunte, Vinod Paliencar, and Jayesh Salongakar were sacked from the ministry to accommodate the Congress MLAs who defected to the BJP.BJP MLA Michael Lobo, who resigned from the post of Deputy Speaker, also joined the government as a minister.

Earlier, Sawant had sought the resignation of four of his ministers -- three of Goa Forward Party and an independent, but they refused.

Speaker Rajesh Patnekar has said that the Assembly will function as the per schedule.

"Though new ministers have been inducted, the Assembly will go on as per the schedule. 

The new ministers will have to study their portfolios while answering questions on the floor of the House."

"As far as I am concerned, there is no rescheduling of the Assembly and the Congress party will have to give the name of Leader of Opposition by Monday," Patnekar told ANI.

On the night of July 10, Chief Minister Sawant had gone to Delhi along with 10 MLAs to meet senior BJP leaders including working president JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the development.

Following this, the rebel MLAs joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

With 10 MLAs changing the sides, the strength of Congress on the floor of the House has been reduced to five.

The MLAs who defected include Kavlekar, Isidore Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Jennifer, Atanasio Monserrate, Antonio Fernandes, Nilakanth Halarnkar, Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D`Sa.