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Mysterious ‘swearing-in’ SMS sends Goa politics into tizzy

Panaji, Feb 26 (Calcutta Tube) A mysterious SMS from the department of information and publicity (DIP) on ‘a swearing-in ceremony’ at Raj Bhavan sent Goa’s politically volatile circles into a tizzy Friday – coming at a time when a minister was rumoured to be on his way out.

The SMS issued from a DIP registered mobile number at 4.01 p.m., informed mediapersons about a ‘swearing-in ceremony at the Durbar hall of Raj Bhavan at 7 p.m. today’.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who is also minister for information and publicity, was reading out his statement on the union budget at a press conference in his official residence when the cell phones of various mediapersons started beeping furiously.

Asked to react, Kamat denied any induction ceremony at Raj Bhavan.

‘I don’t know who has sent this message. There is no question of any induction of a new minister. There is no vacancy. You ask the director of information, who sent the message,’ Kamat said.

But he refused to say whether he would act against the DIP official responsible for releasing the SMS. ‘Some DIP official must have done it in his personal capacity,’ Kamat said.

However, within 10 minutes, the DIP followed up with another SMS retracting the earlier text, saying ‘no swearing-in ceremony was scheduled at Raj Bhavan. Any inconvenience is deeply regretted’.

The DIP SMS saga only lends credence to unconfirmed reports of Transport Minister and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) member Sudin Dhavalikar being dropped from the cabinet in favour of Congress MLA Pandurang Madkaikar.

Dhavalikar belongs to a seven-member group of non-Congress legislators whose support to the Congress-led coalition government is crucial. The group comprises three NCP legislators, two MGP MLAs, one United Goans Democratic Party (unattached) member and an Independent legislator.

Sources said Dhavalikar, who was to resign as minister to make way for Madkaikar’s induction Friday afternoon, has refused to relinquish his post. Dhavalikar has refused to comment on the issue.

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