Narendra Modi offers Manohar Parrikar defence portfolio
PANAJI: Breaking his silence over reports about his
possible appointment as Defence Minister, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar
on Thursday said BJP chief Amit Shah had asked him to take up an assignment at
the Centre, if offered, and that he was willing to shoulder the responsibility.
He also said though he does not feel comfortable about
shifting to Delhi, he will take up the responsibility ‘if nation requires’ his
services. “Party President Amit Shah spoke to me in the morning and asked me to
accept any assignment that would be given by the Prime Minister,” Parrikar told
However, he did not disclose whether Prime Minister
Narendra Modi had offered him the defence portfolio during their meeting on
Wednesday. Latest reports said that Cabinet expansion will take place at 12 pm
Meanwhile, a BJP official told Reuters that Finance
Minister Arun Jaitley will be relieved of defence portfolio, making it almost
certain that Parrikar will be the next one on duty. Parrikar will be the new
defence minister, said Sadanand Tanavade, a general secretary of the Goa unit
Another source with direct knowledge of the
discussions said Modi had offered defence to Parrikar. “He was offered the
position,” the source said, but did not confirm if Parrikar had accepted.
Tanavade later said that Parrikar had accepted a central ministry position but
that the portfolio would be decided in New Delhi.
Like Modi, Parrikar has deep links to the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), that provides ideological guidance to the BJP and
seeks a strong India on the global stage.
“I want to give proper information as far as joining
the cabinet is concerned. It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. However,
I would like to inform that the party has indicated to me that if such
assignment comes, you should accept it,” Parrikar said.
Parrikar said he would be meeting BJP MLAs on Friday
to brief them about the development. He, however, refused to say anything about
who would be his successor. “There are many issues in deciding the successor...
his capacity to deliver and to take everyone along. That is party’s internal
assessment,” he said.
Meanwhile, top sources in Goa BJP said Parrikar will
resign as Chief Minister on November 8, the day party's central Parliamentary
Board will announce the name of his successor. “The announcement of the name of
the new Chief Minister will be made in Delhi after the party’s Parliamentary
Board meets on November 8 at 10 AM,” Parrikar said.