Amid speculation that Goa Public Works Department (PWD) minister Nilesh Cabral has been asked to resign from the cabinet to accommodate one of the eight MLAs, who had switched over to the BJP from the Congress last year in Goa, Cabral on Saturday told The Indian Express that though he has not been told to resign so far, party leaders have spoken about having to make a “sacrifice”.
The minister, who is also holding portfolios of Law and Judiciary, Environment and Climate Change, and Legislative Affairs, said the matter of cabinet reshuffle had come up for discussion among senior party leaders earlier this week.
“Three days back, there was a discussion and the party leaders said it is required to induct one of the eight MLAs. Not only me, I think they told others also… I have not been told to step down, but ‘sacrifice’ was the word used, not only for me but for other ministers also. The CM has not told me anything. I have not been told to resign yet… it was just said ‘sacrifice’ you will have to make. That’s how they said it,” Cabral told The Indian Express.
Gao Chief Minister Pramod Sawant meanwhile told the media, “You will come to know if any decision is taken.”
According to party sources, Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira, who was among the eight MLAs who quit the Congress and joined the BJP in September last year, could be inducted in the cabinet. Rumours of a cabinet reshuffle to accommodate Sequeira, former chief minister Digambar Kamat and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo have been rife for months.
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Sequeira, however, dismissed the speculation: “Till this minute, I have not been told by anybody that I am being made a minister. This is only speculation, just rumours. I have been hearing for over a year now that I am being sworn-in or Digambar Kamat is being inducted or Michael Lobo or that we all are being sworn-in.”
Sequeira added, “I spoke to the CM in the evening… not about this, but regarding a delegation that had come to me regarding re-alignment of the Borim bridge… and he (CM) also did not tell me anything.”
BJP leader Savio Rodrigues meanwhile told the media: “I am disappointed, disheartened and shocked to learn that PWD Minister (Cabral) has been asked to step down to make way for Aleixo Sequeira to be inducted into the cabinet. Sequeira was a Congress MLA who joined the BJP last year… Cabral has been a loyal soldier of the BJP from the Christian community in Goa. It is a decision that will send a wrong message to young karyakartas of the BJP.”