Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Morning meet with PM for new ministers

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

- 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.
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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