The eight MLAs who were sworn in include Vishwajit Rane, Mauvin Godinho, Ravi Naik, Nilesh Cabral, Subhash Shirodkar, Rohan Khaunte, Govind Gaude and Atansio Monserrate — all from the BJP. Their portfolios are yet to be announced.
The BJP has kept caste and community equations in mind in its selection of ministers. While Sawant and Rane are from the Maratha community, Godinho, Cabral and Monserrate are Christians. Khaunte is a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin while Gaude is from Scheduled Tribe. Ravi Naik is from the Bhandari community that has a sizable share in several of Goa’s constituencies.
Although the number of ministers who can be included in the government is 11 besides the chief minister, the Sawant government has decided to induct three more ministers later on. State BJP chief Sadanand Tanawade told reporters after the swearing in that the rest of the ministers would be inducted “within a month or two”.
The BJP is one short of the majority mark of 21 in the 40-seat assembly and has the support of three independent MLAs and two MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). There was a lot of speculation on which of these MLAs would find a place in the cabinet.
BJP leaders said that they are planning to induct Sudhin Dhavalikar of the MGP into the cabinet. “There is some opposition to him being inducted. However, if he merges MGP with our party then it should not be an issue. This is why our party chief has said that it would take a month or two,” the BJP leader said.
The BJP is also in talks with Goa Forward Party leader Vijay Sardesai, the lone MLA of the party. Sardesai was in alliance with the Congress prior to the assembly polls. However, now there are chances that he may support the government. If this happens, then he could be made a minister.
After he was sworn in, Sawant said that mining, employment generation and tourism would be his priorities.