Morn­ing meet with PM for new min­is­ters

TAN­GLE Deputy CM Fran­cis D’Souza re­fuses to re­port to a ‘ju­nior’, kicks up a storm

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi has in­vited new lead­ers join­ing his team for a pep talk over a cup of tea on Sun­day morn­ing, when he is likely to per­son­ally in­form them about their in­duc­tion into his coun­cil of min­is­ters.

Modi is ex­pand­ing his team on Sun­day for the first time after be­ing in of­fice for around 160 days. Manohar Par­rikar (Goa), Giri­raj Singh and Ram Kri­pal Yadav (Bi­har), Ramesh Bains (Ch­hat­tis­garh), Han­sraj Ga­garam Ahir (Ma­ha­rash­tra), Vi­jay Sam­pla (Pun­jab), San­war Lal Jat (Ra­jasthan) and Mukhtar Ab­bas Naqvi (Ut­tar Pradesh) are prom­i­nent among those ex­pected to join Modi’s coun­cil of min­is­ters.

There is lit­tle chance that Modi will drop any min­is­ter, but spec­u­la­tion is rife about a change in the port­fo­lios of a cou- ple of min­is­ters who have failed to live up to the PM’s ex­pec­ta­tion. Modi also plans to lessen the bur­den of min­is­ters who have been look­ing after more than one min­istry.

Goa chief min­is­ter Par­rikar, who is tipped to get the de­fence min­istry, is not an MP and may be brought into the Ra­jya Sabha from Ut­tar Pradesh, where polls to the up­per House are sched­uled for Novem­ber 20.

BJP gen­eral sec­re­tary Ram Mad­hav was also in con­tention for the berth but the bal­ance seemed to have ti­tled in Par­rikar’s favour since he needs to be­come a mem­ber of ei­ther house of Par­lia­ment within six months of be­com­ing a min­is­ter. The BJP’s par­lia­men­tary board will also meet in Delhi on Satur­day to elect Par­rikar’s suc­ces­sor in Goa.

He will re­sign im­me­di­ately after this meet­ing and a new CM will be sworn in.

PANAJI: The race for the Goa Chief Min­is­ter’s post in­ten­si­fied on Fri­day with deputy chief min­is­ter Fran­cis D’Souza throw­ing his hat into the ring and health min­is­ter Laxmikant Parsekar emerg­ing as the front-run­ner to suc­ceed Manohar Par­rikar.

“I am chief min­is­te­rial ma­te­rial. I will not be re­port­ing to the ju­nior,” D’Souza, BJP’s Christian face in Goa, told re­porters.

Par­rikar, who has been tipped to be the next de­fence min­is­ter, is likely to be sent to the Ra­jya Sabha from Ut­tar Pradesh.

After his meet­ing with Prime Miniser Naren­dra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, Par­rikar said on Thurs­day that he was all set to join the union cab­i­net. The party took stock of the sit­u­a­tion in the leg­isla­tive party meet­ing on Fri­day. Party MLAs have ex­pressed their opin­ion on the new lead­er­ship with Ar­lekar and Parsekar get­ting max­i­mum support.

Ac­cord­ing to party sources, Parsekar en­joys max­i­mum support and has Par­rikar’s back­ing. Parsekar has the re­quired ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, while Ar­lekar lacks on that front though his clean im­age gives him an edge for the cov­eted post. Ar­lekar, the party’s dalit face, also en­joys RSS’ support as his fa­ther was one of the founder mem­bers of the Jan Sangh in the state.

With 21 MLAs, the BJP has a majority in the 40-seat state assem­bly. A group of MLAs feel that the party needs a dy­namic leader like Parsekar to lead the party, which has only one seat more that the 50% mark.

How­ever, the claim by D’souza has posed a chal­lenge be­fore the party lead­er­ship as he rep­re­sents the Christian com­mu­nity, which ac­counts for the largest part of the state’s pop­u­la­tion and has voted for the Par­rikar-led BJP in the re­cent elec­tions.

Un­der­min­ing D’souza may cost dear to the BJP, which is try­ing to hold on to its base in the state.

RAKESH MUNDYE/HT

Par­rikar after meet­ing BJP MLAs and al­liance part­ners re­gard­ing the se­lec­tion of the next Goa CM, on Fri­day.

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