Goa Chief Minister Parrikar likely to be Union Defence Minister
NEW DELHI: Speculations are ripe on Wednesday night
over the possibility of a Union cabinet reshuffle, may be as early as Sunday,
as Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi amidst
reports that he could get the defence portfolio.
There is talk that there could be an induction of as
many as 10 ministers. The names of Jat leader from Haryana Birender Singh, who
also had a meeting with BJP President Amit Shah, Giriraj Singh, an MP from
Bihar, and GS Shekhawat, MP from Rajasthan, are doing the rounds for inclusion
in the Union Council of Ministers.
Talk of the cabinet expansion gained currency after
Parrikar arrived here during the day cancelling a Goa cabinet meeting and
straight going into a meeting with Shah. Later in the night, he followed it up
with a meeting with Modi with whom he shares a good rapport.
In all his brief interactions with media on two-three
occasions, the chief minister did not deny suggestions that he was being tipped
to be the defence minister.
“I can comment on it only after meeting the Prime
Minister. Let the Prime Minister who has invited me comment,” he said when
asked about the media speculation after his meeting with Shah.
However, after his meeting with Modi he told reporters
that they only discussed Goa issues and there was no talk on his induction in
the Union Cabinet. “I have not discussed nor has he discussed anything about
that. So, as of now the issue is dead. The news is dead,” he said.
“I had requested for a meeting (with Modi) to discuss
issues of Goa and this is what was discussed. He has accepted my demands for
Goa,” he said. When asked if he would continue as chief minister, he said, ‘Obviously’.
The defence portfolio is currently held as an
additional charge by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who also has Corporate
Affairs Ministry under his fold. More than six ministers are currently holding
more than one portfolio.
Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari
also holds the charge of Rural Development Ministry, while Law Minister Ravi
Shankar Prasad also has the charge of IT and Communications Ministry.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has I&B
ministry as an additional charge while Power Minister Piyush Goyal also looks
after Coal and Mines.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu also has
Urban Development while Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS in Finance Ministry, also has
independent charge of Commerce.
Among the other names doing the rounds for inclusion
are first time MP Jayant Sinha, son of former minister Yashwant Sinha, Mukhtar
Abbas Naqvi and Anurag Thakur. If the induction takes place, this will be the
first recasting of the ministry by Modi who assumed office in May after the
Sunday is being talked about as the day for the
exercise as Modi is scheduled to leave on a three-nation nine-day tour on
November 11. Parliament is scheduled to see the start of Winter Session from
Nov 24 and so the new ministers could have some time to prepare themselves for
facing the House.