Goa cabinet fills in 3 more ministers; MJP’s Dhavalikar surprise inclusion

Sudin Dhavalikar's inclusion was opposed by all the MLAs of the BJP

Goa CM Pramod Sawant (left) included Sudin Dhavalikar in his cabinet on Saturday.

The Goa cabinet was expanded on Saturday (April 9) with three more ministers added to the Pramod Sawant government’s cabinet which was sworn in two weeks back.

BJP’s Nilkanth Halarnkar, Subhash Phal Dessai and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) legislator Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar took oath at the Raj Bhavan in the presence of Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai. The new ministers are yet to be assigned their portfolios.

Three-time MLA Pramod Sawant, who led the BJP to win 20 seats in the recently concluded elections to the 40-member Goa Assembly, was sworn in as the state’s chief minister for the second time on March 28 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries.

Sudin Dhavalikar’s inclusion in the cabinet was a bit of a surprise because none of the BJP’s 20 MLAs wanted him in the ministry.

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Three independent MLAs and two legislators of the MGP had extended support to the BJP, which now has a strength of 25 MLAs in the 40-member House. MGP had fought the election in alliance with the TMC. After the election results, MGP went back to BJP, with which it had shared power earlier, extending “unconditional support” to the saffron party, which had 20 MLAs, one short of the 21 seats mark needed to form the government.

Phal Dessai resigned as deputy speaker of the Assembly to join the cabinet. Nilkanth Halarnkar is a three-time MLA from Tivim.

MGP has been a natural ally of the BJP with both parties banking heavily on the Hindu vote bank. The MGP was a part of the state government when late Manohar Parrikar was the CM. Dhavalikar bagged the Deputy CM’s post after he extended supported with Pramod Sawant as the CM.

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