Jaitley confirms he is shedding Defence

: A day ahead of the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting here on Saturday, where among other things the Goa political situation is expected to be discussed, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has confirmed that he is giving up the Defence portfolio.

Speaking to journalists at a book launch function, Mr. Jaitley said he had always maintained that “the Defence portfolio was an additional charge.” Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is tipped to be the next Defence Minister.

Ahead of the much-talked about Cabinet expansion, the Parliamentary Board will discuss various issues, including the nomination of Mr. Parrikar as a candidate for the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, the names of party office-bearers Ram Madhav and Sudhanshu Trivedi were doing the rounds for the lone RS seat that fell vacant after the retirement of BJP member Kusum Rai.

The Parliamentary Board, chaired by BJP president Amit Shah, is also expected to discuss Mr. Parrikar’s successor in Goa. Mr. Parrikar told reporters on Friday that he would resign as Chief Minister after the Parliamentary Board approves his appointment as a Union Minister.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister will host high tea for the new incumbents before the oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan at 1.00 pm. The Cabinet expansion is likely to see the elevation of a few Ministers of State and the shuffling of a couple of Ministers. BJP allies Shiv Sena, the Telugu Desam Party and the RPI (A) are likely to be accommodated in the Council of Ministers. Party office-bearers J.P. Nadda and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi may also be inducted, party sources said.

From the allies, the Shiv Sena has given the name of Anil Desai. The TDP has named Y.S. Chaudhury or Ram Mohan Naidu, son of late Union Minister K. Yerran Naidu. Ramdas Athavale of the RPI (A) was promised a Cabinet berth when the party entered into an alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha election.

Among the likely new faces are Jayant Sinha, son of former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 1:42:09 AM |

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