PANAJI: Goa Forward Party on Sunday withdrew its support from the BJP-led coalition government in the state. The regional party decided to ende its alliance with the BJP just a day after their of its ministers were asked to quit from Pramod Sawant-led Goa cabinet to adjust Congress rebels as ministers in the government.
Goa Forward Party president and now former Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai wrote a letter to Governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday informing his party's decision. "Political affairs committee and the legislature party wing of Goa Forward party met today and has decided to unanimously withdraw support to the BJP government led by Dr. Pramod Sawant," Sardesai said in the letter.
It may be recalled that the expansion of the Goa cabinet took place on Saturday as three Congress rebel MLAs and a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA took oath as ministers at the Raj Bhavan, Panaji. The Congress rebel MLAs who joined the Cabinet are--Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Nery Rodrigues, and the lone BJP MLA who was sworn-in is Michael Lobo.
The expansion of Cabinet took place days after 10 Congress MLAs switched sides to join BJP and four ministers, including 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.
Speaker Rajesh Patnekar said that the Assembly will function as the per schedule, according to news agency ANI. "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.
The total strength of Goa Assembly is of 40 MLAs, out of which 17 are from BJP, 15 from Congress, 1 from NCP, 1 from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, 3 from Goa Forward Party and 3 Independents. With the defection of 10 Congress MLAs to BJP, the strength of the saffron party has now risen to 27.