Pauskar made Goa minister, Ajgaonkar Deputy CM

Newly-inducted BJP MLA Deepak Pauskar, one of the two MGP legislators who joined the ruling party earlier on Wednesday, was inducted into Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s cabinet while the other, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar, elevated as Deputy Chief Minister

Pauskar, a legislator from the Sanvordem assembly constituency in South Goa, was sworn-in by Governor Mridula Sinha late on on Wednesday at Raj Bhavan.

Earlier on Wednesday, the now lone Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLA Sudin Dhavalikar was stripped off his post of Deputy Chief Minister and dropped from the cabinet.

“We have joined the BJP, a national party because the future belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The MGP, which was meant to be a party for the bahujan samaj has been reduced to an outfit which is run by one family (Dhavalikars), which is also why both me and Deepak quit the MGP,” Ajgaonkar told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony.

At 1.45 am on Wednesday, two out of the three MGP lawmakers split the legislature party and merged into the BJP, alleging victimisation by their leaders.

Chief Minister Sawant has maintained that the BJP did not split the MGP and insisted that it was the two MLAs, who expressed their desire to join his party.

The merger takes the legislative strength of the Bharatiya Janata Party to 14, at par with the Congress which also has 14 legislators. The strength of the 40-member assembly has dipped due to deaths and resignations of several legislators.

The development comes on the heels of a growing discomfort between the BJP and the MGP, over share of ministerial berths as well as the latter’s decision to field its state president Deepak Dhavalikar as a candidate for the upcoming assembly bypoll at Shiroda against BJP’s candidate Subhash Shirodkar.