POLITICS

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Likely To Return To Goa As Chief Minister

BJP has four seats less than the Congress but can still form the government with allies.

12/03/2017 4:42 PM IST | Updated 12/03/2017 5:30 PM IST
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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar could be back in Goa, his home state, heading a coalition government.

The Centre will appoint a new defence minister.

Top BJP sources told HuffPost India, that Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP) have agreed to extend support to the BJP on the condition that Parrikar heads the coalition in Goa. Each party has three MLAs respectively. Three independents MLAs too have extended support to the BJP on similar grounds.

The Goa assembly has 40 seats. The half way mark of which is 20. The Congress emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats. The BJP is only four seats behind the Congress – it bagged 13 seats. With the support of the two smaller parties – MGP and GFP - and the independents, the BJP can cross the magic number of 20.

Parrikar and Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari are in Goa working out the finer details, top sources told HuffPost India.

The 61-year-old Defence Minister too is keen to go back to his home state.

The BJP Parliamentary Board headed by Party President Amit Shah will met in Delhi today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to attend the meeting. The decision to send Parrikar back to Goa will, however, be taken by PM Modi and Shah.

The 61-year-old Defence Minister too is keen to go back to his home state. According to sources, Parrikar has made clear that he prefers Goa to Delhi. Two-and-half-years ago he had reluctantly agreed to leave Goa and move to Delhi as the defence minister. "You cannot ignore the Prime Minister and the party's request," he is known to have told party leaders close to him.

In the past two-half-years as defence minister, Parrikar has made bold decisions and has shaken up the ministry from within.

Parrikar will, however, be missed in South Block. The BJP will find it difficult to come up with a replacement. In the past two-half-years as defence minister, Parrikar has made bold decisions and has shaken up the ministry from within. For instance, Parrikar read the riot act to the Ordinance Factory Boards (OFB) pushing them to increase productivity and reduce critical short-fall of ammunition in the last two years.

In 2015, when the French President of France Francois Hollande was in India as the Chief Guest on Republic Day, he is also famously held back from signing the Rafale fighter deal. He forced the French to reduce price of fighters saving India few billions. India bought 36 French made Rafale fighters for about 7.87 billion Euros. More importantly he has struck a chord with the armed forces.

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