Governor Mridula Sinha on Saturday administered the Oath of Office to four new ministers namely Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate, Filipe Neri Rodrigues and Michael Lobo, thus inducting them in the Pramod Sawant-led Bharatiya Janata Party government.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Chief Secretary Parimal Rai were present at the ceremony held at Raj Bhavan. All the four ministers chose to be sworn-in in English.
Later, the Chief Minister announced that Kavlekar would be the Deputy Chief Minister in his cabinet. The Chief Minister also said that the notification as regards the allocation of portfolios to new ministers would be issued July 15 morning.
Earlier in the day, the three Goa Forward MLAs, Vijai Sardesai, Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Paliencar, and independent legislator Rohan Khaunte resigned from the cabinet.
Kavlekar, Monserrate and Lobo are first-time ministers, while Neri has been a minister in the past.
Later speaking to the media, the Chief Minister said that he has dropped the four ministers from the state cabinet as per the instructions of the BJP central leadership, and inducted new ones in his cabinet. “Now we have a majority government of BJP in Goa, which can be termed as the government of Goans and Goemkarponn in the real sense,” he added, hoping that the new ministers would dedicate their time and loyalty to the people of the state, and complete the developmental works as fast as possible.
Speaking further, Sawant said that the new ministers would be fully prepared to reply to the questions of the MLAs, during the monsoon session of the state legislative assembly, which commences from July 15.
Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said that he wanted to streamline the state administration and replacement of the four ministers was a part of this endeavour. “In turn, we have now got 10 MLAs of the BJP and they are with us unconditionally,” he noted.
Sawant, answering another question, stated that the induction of Jennifer Monserrate in his cabinet was not the last-minute induction. He also said that there would be no more reshuffle in his government in the future.
In response to a gathering organised by the former ministers of the Goa Forward Party as well as Rohan Khaunte, the Chief Minister said that a report has been sought about the same, and he could speak about this gathering only after going through the said report.
Kavlekar, speaking on the occasion, said that he and his nine colleagues from the Congress Legislature Party joined the BJP for the development of their respective constituencies. “In fact, our voters were always asking us how long we would be in the opposition, and when the works in our constituencies would be completed,” he maintained.
After the swearing-in ceremony, the newly inducted ministers visited the BJP office in the city. They were led by the Chief Minister and state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar.
The MLA of Taleigao and the newly-inducted minister in the state cabinet Jennifer Monserrate said that she will try and make her departments more people-friendly. She also thanked the Bharatiya Janata Party for the responsibility, which has been entrusted to her.
“I promise to work with diligence and work hard with the portfolios given to me. I will meet the Secretary of my portfolios and get hold of what has happened so far in these portfolios, and would pick up from there.”
Speaking to the pressmen after the swearing-in ceremony, Monserrate further said, “I will prefer to make my departments more people-friendly as this goes all the way through grassroots level. I will try and dispose whatever cases are there and generally work for the betterment of Goa and its people,” she noted.
The only lady minister in the state cabinet said that it’s a new experience and that it would take some time to adjust. “I will make sure, I get along well with everybody and take everyone forward, while taking the opinion of the Chief Minister,” she said, concluding, “I am thankful to the Chief Minister for the position he has given me in the BJP.
Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues said that the decision to join the Bharatiya Janata Party was a conscious and collective decision. He said that his efforts would be to see a balanced development across the state. “We have taken a conscious and collective decision after duly considering our political future and the entire political scenario across the country as well as in Goa,” said Rodrigues while reacting to media queries on his decision as well as that of his colleagues to join the BJP.
He further said, “We are very much comfortable in this government. We have to see that development has to be balance development across the state, this is our whole idea. As a minister I will see that the benefit of the government reaches across the state.”