Ahead of the plan for reshuffle of the Union Cabinet, speculations are running high on Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to take over as the Defence Minister, said sources on Wednesday. The expansion of Modi’s cabinet is likely to take place on November 9, Sunday.
While there is no Defence Minister at present, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been given the additional charge of the ministry and he is expected to hand over the charge once Parrikar is sworn-in.
Parrikar was summoned to Delhi for a meeting with Modi and party president Amit Shah on Wednesday evening, along with Goa Bharatiya Janata Party president Vijay Tendulkar and organising secretary Satish Dhond,.
The CM said that there were no discussions on his joining the union cabinet. He said, “The prime minister did not talk about my joining the cabinet. We discussed Goa issues.”
Though Parrikar said, “There was no discussion with the Prime Minister about any role in the Cabinet; I am still the Goa Chief Minister,” after his meeting with Amit Shah, he said, “I will meet the Prime Minister at 8 PM. After that I can answer your question. Let me first meet PM after that I will talk to media and answer the speculation.”
The reshuffling of union cabinet may pave way for lightening the burden of ministers who were taking charges of more than one ministry. Modi’s present team includes 22 cabinet ministers and 22 MoS.
Meanwhile, not only Defence Ministry but also rural development ministry awaits for a full time minister which is now handled by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, after Gopinath Munde’s death.
According to reports, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who was a minister of state in the Vajpayee government, is also likely to become minister in charge of statistics and planning.
Currently, Information Technology and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar (Information and Broadcasting, and Environment) and Piyush Goyal (Power, Coal, New and Renewable energy) are also handling more than one portfolio each.
The Other BJP leaders whose names are making rounds for induction into the union cabinet include Yashwant Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha and Hansraj Ahir.
(With inputs from IANS)