Panaji: BJP MLAs Milind Naik, a former power minister, and Nilesh Cabral were sworn in as cabinet ministers in the BJP-led cabinet in Goa even as ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar dropped two ministers who have been hospitalized for severe ailments.
The two ministers were administered the oath of secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at a formal function at the Raj Bhavan on Monday evening.
While Naik has served as a power minister in a previous BJP-led coalition government under then chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, a two-time MLA has been sworn in as minister for the first time.
Both ministers said they had been informed by Parrikar by phone on Monday morning that they had been shortlisted for ministership.
When Cabral was asked that two of their colleagues had been sacked to make way for the two cabinet berths, the newly inducted minister said: "It is not my responsibility that my colleague has been dropped and I have been made minister. That is the CM's responsibility. Tomorrow they may drop me too... What is the big deal?"
Naik and Cabral have replaced Urban Development minister Francis D'Souza and power minister Pandurang Madkaikar.
Reacting to the development, D'Souza, who is being treated for cancer at a New York hospital, told IANS over the phone: "I am happy with the decision. This is the fruit of working for the party for 20 long years. I have been ill for only one month."
Madkaikar is being treated in Mumbai since June when he suffered a brain stroke.
BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday had hinted at a ministerial rejig in a tweet, which also said that Parrikar, who is being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences would, however, continue as chief minister.
Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and now Delhi for the last seven months.