Manohar Parrikar, who is tipped to be the Union defence minister in the cabinet expansion on Sunday, will resign on Saturday as the Goa chief minister, reports said.
Speaking to reporters ahead of a crucial meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s legislative wing, Parrikar said: “The new chief minister will be sworn in Saturday afternoon.”
BJP sources said Parrikar may be inducted into the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh.
Parrikar said he would submit his resignation after the meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board, which is expected put the final seal on his elevation to the union cabinet.
The contenders for the chief ministerial post are Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, health minister Laxmikant Parsenkar and deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza.
Arlekar has solid Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) credentials and also enjoys the confidence of Parrikar.
One potential blip on his record, however, is a petition by a lawyer activist pending in a trial court accusing the speaker of allegedly amassing disproportionate assets.
Parsenkar has been a state chief of the BJP on two occasions and like Arlekar has traditionally enjoyed the confidence of the chief minister.
Parrikar had said on Thursday that he would be meeting the BJP MLAs on Friday to brief them about the development. He, however, refused to say anything about who would be his successor.
“There are many issues in deciding the successor… his capacity to deliver and to take everyone along. That is party’s internal assessment,” he said.
Fifty eight-year-old Parrikar may to take over the defence portfolio from Arun Jaitley, who been looking after the finance as well as defence ministry since the Narendra Modi cabinet took oath in May earlier this year.
Parrikar had said BJP chief Amit Shah had asked him to take up an assignment at the Centre, if offered, and that he was willing to shoulder the responsibility.
He also said though he does not feel comfortable about shifting to Delhi, he will take up the responsibility “if nation requires” his services.
“Party president Amit Shah spoke to me in the morning and asked me to accept any assignment that would be given by the Prime Minister,” Parrikar told reporters.
However, he did not disclose whether PM Modi had offered him the defence portfolio during their meeting on Wednesday.
“I want to give proper information as far as joining the cabinet is concerned. It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. However, I would like to inform that the party has indicated to me that if such assignment comes, you should accept it,” he said.
Parrikar said if any offer had to come, it would have to be before November 9, when union cabinet would be expanded.
“The party would not have asked me (to accept the offer) if they (top BJP leaders) had not interacted with the Prime Minister,” he added.
Parrikar, who led BJP to victory in the 2012 Assembly polls, said he was not comfortable about having to shift to the Centre.
“I am not comfortable, I have too much affection towards the state. But rationality tells me if nation requires your services, I should take it. Whenever Goa wants my services, I will be there,” he said.
“One reservation (about moving to Delhi) is because I have been elected for a five-year term with a popular mandate. My feeling is unless I complete the term it is not right on my part to leave mid-way. If I get an offer from the Prime Minister, then I will let you know what are my reasons for accepting the offer,” he said.