Panaji, Mar 28 : A day after two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLAs joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, one of the MLA was elevated to the post of Deputy Chief Minister of the State on Thursday.
Goa Chief Minister Minister Pramod Sawant designated Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar to Deputy Chief Minister. He replaced MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar who was dropped from the cabinet on Wednesday.
Another MLA, Deepak Pauskar, who was chairman of Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC), was sworn-in as minister in the Swant cabinet. He was yet to be alloted portfolio.
On the intervening night of March 26 and 27, both Deepak Pauskar and Manohar Ajgaonkar split MGP, an alliance partner of BJP in the state, in two groups and joined BJP with their supporters.
Mr Ajgaonkar was present during the swearing-in ceremony which was held late Wednesday night. However, MLAs from Goa Forward Party (GFP), another alliance partner of BJP in the state, were conspicuous by their absence.
While MGP has termed joining of the MLAs 'dacoity by Chowkidar', Congress has alleged that the act had been committed to remain in power by hook or crook. During the last two decades, MGP has been with Congress as well as BJP.
While it was in alliance with BJP in the previous regime during 2012-17, in the later part of 2017 it came out of the alliance and contested 2017 assembly election in alliance with Shiv Sena (SS) and Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM).
While SS and GSM could not win even a single seat, MGP managed to win three seats and extended support to BJP to form government under the leadership of former Chief Minister Late Manohar Parrikar. While Manohar Ajgaonkar and Sudin Dhavalikar was allotted ministerial berth, Deepak Pauskar was given GSIDC.
However, after demise of Manohar Parrikar, BJP projected Sanquelim MLA Pramod Sawant for Chief Minister's post and Goa Forward Party (GFP) President and MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar were designated as Deputy Chief Ministers.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday denied that BJP had played any role in the split of MGP MLAs and said Sudin Dhavalikar was dropped from the cabinet as he was going back on Common Minimum Programme (CMP) agreed when government was formed. (UNI)