India may finally get a full time defence minister as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to expand the union cabinet before he embarks on a foreign tour starting November 12.
Leading the race to be take over ministry of defence is said to be Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Currently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley holds the additional charge of the ministry.
IITian Parrikar has strong credentials to hold one of the most important posts in the government of India as he is known for his clean image and excellent administrative skills.
A soft spoken man, Parrikar is known as a tough task master when confronted with governance issues.
Also, Parrikar shares a good rapport with Modi and had played a critical role in Modi’s elevation as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate last year.
Reports said Parrikar will arrive in Delhi later today to meet PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
The cabinet expansion will see induction of around a dozen new ministers, reports added.
Among other names doing the rounds for a cabinet berth are senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s son and Hazaribagh MP Jayant Sinha and Chandrapur BJP Hansraj Ahir who had shot to limelight for exposing the coal scam.
Old party faithfuls like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy may also get a look, reports said.
Some ministers of state like Prakash Javadekar and Nirmal Sitharaman may get elevated to cabinet rank as well.
As the Prime Minister is scheduled to visit his parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, for two days starting November 7 and then proceed on his foreign tour starting November 12, the cabinet expansion is most likely to be carried out between November 9-11.