Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday was given additional charge of Defence Ministry after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar resigned to take over the old role of as Goa Chief Minister. President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the resignation of Parrikar from the Council of Ministers with immediate effect and assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence to Jaitley, in addition to his existing portfolios.
Parrikar will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Goa on Tuesday at 5 PM.
“I have tendered my resignation as Defence Minister and have sent it to the PMO. I will be taking the oath (as Goa chief minister) on Tuesday evening, along with the cabinet ministers,” Parrikar said.
BJP president Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari will attend the swearing-in ceremony, said Parrikar. This comes after BJP had pulled off a coup and staked the claim to form the next government in Goa in coalition with local outfits and independents under Manohar Parrikar, despite being a runner-up behind the Congress.
“The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Shri Manohar Parrikar, from the Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution. Further, as advised by the Prime Minister, the President has directed that Shri Arun Jaitely, Cabinet Minister, shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence, in addition to his existing portfolios,” reads the press release from Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Asked how many ministers would be sworn in, Parrikar had said, “The decision on the number of ministers and other issues are being currently worked out. Once the cabinet is finalised, we will inform the media.”
The BJP, which failed to cross the half-way mark in the assembly polls with its tally dipping to 13 from 21, pulled off a coup yesterday by enlisting the support of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and two Independents, to reach the magic figure of 21 in the 40-member house.
Thirteen BJP MLA and other legislators who pledged support to the party met Governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday, who later invited Parrikar to form the government.
However, a split within the Congress Party also comes in wide open in the coastal state.
Vishwajit Rane, the LoP in outgoing Assembly and Congress MLA from Valpoi said he is quitting the party. Rane is also the son of former Goa CM Pratapsingh Rane.
“I am very disillusioned with the way the Goa scenario was handled is very shameful,” he said. He indicated that more MLAs could follow in his footsteps, saying, “Congress MLAs are disgusted.”
Reacting to the news, Congress spokesperson KC Venugopal, while admitting that the Congress’s strategy in Goa will have to be rethought, said, “Nobody will leave the Congress.” Venugopal added that he will speak to Vishwajit about the matter.