Mumbai: A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided against replacing the ailing Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, its coalition government in the coastal state dropped two BJP ministers from the cabinet, inducting two other legislators in their place.

The BJP dropped urban development minister Francis D’souza and power minister Pandurang Madkaikar, replacing them with Curchorem legislator Nilesh Cabral and Mormugao legislator Milind Naik. Cabral and Naik took oath of office at the Raj Bhavan in Panaji on Monday.

While Cabral has been made the power minister, Naik has been alloted the urban development portfolio.

Both D’souza and Madkaikar have been ailing as well for some time and Parrikar has been temporarily holding their portfolios. However, Parrikar’s prolonged illness affected governance in Goa, and BJP president Amit Shah said on Sunday that there would be some changes in the cabinet.

Soon after he was dropped, a miffed D’souza, undergoing treatment in the US, told news agency PTI that the chief minister gave no hint of this change when they spoke on Sunday evening.

D’souza has represented the Mapusa constituency for nearly two decades, and was deputy chief minister in the BJP’s previous government under chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar. “This is the reward I am getting for my loyalty to the party for the last 20 years," D’Souza told PTI over the phone.

Madkaikar, who suffered a brain stroke in June, is being treated at Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital.

Milind Naik held the power portfolio in the Parsekar cabinet. For Cabral, who has criticized the Supreme Court-ordered ban on mining in Goa, this is the first ministerial berth.

The opposition Congress party in Goa has 16 legislators in the 40-member assembly, two more than the BJP. Last week, the party asked the governor to conduct a floor test, claiming a “breakdown of administration" in the state. The Congress has also claimed the support of 21 legislators and staked claim to form the government. In fact, even the Shiv Sena, which is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, has criticized the BJP and said the government in Goa is in the “Intensive Care Unit".

A BJP functionary in Goa said the changes in the cabinet were aimed at restoring some sense of governance and stability in the administration. “It is true that governance has suffered due to ill health of the chief minister and two senior ministers. This is a coalition government and it has its own constraints and pressures. As the leading party of this coalition, we cannot let things drift," the BJP functionary said, requesting anonymity.

He said the decision to continue with Parrikar, who is being treated at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), was taken to avoid “confrontation" between the two BJP allies Maharashtravadi Gomantak Paksha and Goa Forward Party. “As of now, we do not have a replacement for Parrikar who carries some stature and who would wield some authority with the allies. Also, the allies have been pulling away from each other ever since Parrikar fell ill," the BJP functionary said.

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