Almost a week after being sworn in, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has allocated portfolios to his eight cabinet colleagues as he retained the Home and Finance ministries that he had held in the last three years of his previous tenure. As per the notification issued Sunday, Sawant also holds the Personnel, Vigilance and Official language portfolios.
Former independent MLA from Porvorim, Rohan Khaunte, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the assembly polls, has been given the important Tourism portfolio and other major departments like Information Technology and Printing and Stationery.
Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate will be the minister for Revenue, the portfolio held by his wife Jennifer Monserrate in the previous Sawant government, along with Labour and Waste Management.
Vishwajit Rane retained the Health and Women and Child Development portfolios and got other weighty departments like Town and Country Planning, Urban Development and Forests. Mauvin Godinho was allocated the Transport, Industries, Panchayat and Protocol portfolios while Nilesh Cabral, who was also a minister in the previous government, bagged the sought-after Public Works Department (PWD) along with Law and Judiciary, Legislative Affairs and Environment.
Govind Gaude will continue to hold the Art and Culture portfolio and has been entrusted with the Sports portfolio too.
A new entrant in Sawant’s cabinet, former chief minister Ravi Naik, who quit the Congress to join the BJP ahead of the polls in February, has been assigned Agriculture, Handicrafts and Civil Supplies portfolios. Another turncoat Subhash Shirodkar, who left the Congress to join the BJP in 2018, will be the minister for Water Resources, Co-operation and Provedoria (Institute Of Public Assistance).
While important departments like Education, Mines and Geology and Power are yet to be assigned, three more positions in Sawant’s cabinet remain vacant. It is likely that the BJP will accommodate leaders of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and at least one independent MLA who supported the party to form the government in the cabinet.
BJP won the assembly election bagging 20 out of the 40 assembly seats in Goa. It formed the government with the support of three independent MLAs and two from the MGP.
The three new ministers are expected to be announced after the BJP central leadership’s approval, sources said. For the time being, Sawant is expected to oversee the departments that are yet to be assigned.