PANAJI: All set to become the first Union cabinet minister from Goa, holding in all probability the key defence portfolio, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will be sworn in during the expansion of the central council of ministers by President Pranab Mukherjee on November 9 in New Delhi.
Other dozen-odd ministers are also expected to be included in the Union cabinet on that particular day.
Giving indication of his shift to the national political arena, Parrikar, addressing a press conference at the State Secretariat on Thursday evening, said the Bharatiya Janata Party has given him ‘get ready’ signal.
“I am not comfortable in moving to the national capital as I am too much attached to Goa,” he added, stating that it was not an easy decision to make, and he was trying to push it away for a long time.
“I met the national BJP president Amit Shah yesterday and he told me to accept any assignment given by the Prime Minister,” Parrikar added, pointing out that later he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed reservations about taking up a position in the Union government.
“I felt that I am an elected representative of Goan voters for a five-year term, with popular mandate, and unless I complete this term, it would not be right on my part to leave them midway,” he stated, maintaining that finally, the fact that the nation is bigger than the state made him make up his mind.
“It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to induct ministers in his cabinet and allocate them portfolios,” the Chief Minister observed, maintaining, “However, I would like to inform you about party’s direction to me that if such an assignment comes I should accept it.”
“I am yet to officially receive the offer from the Prime minister, and if that comes up, I will divulge the reasons behind my acceptance of the same,” Parrikar said, mentioning that rationality tells him that if he is needed to serve 125 crore Indians instead of 15 lakh Goans, he should do it.
“However, it won’t mean that I am ignoring my 15 lakh people from Goa,” he stated, assuring that he would be there for Goan people, whenever they would require his help.
Parrikar said that his mandatory election as the Member of Parliament for joining the central government would be handled by the party.
“And then if the new government in Goa needs my guidance in matters like mining, I will be most happy to give the same,” he noted.
Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said that although he was the face of state BJP unit, and people brought the party to power because of him, one should not forget that the people of Goa also elected both BJP MPs from Goa, and showed their support to the Modi government at the Centre.
Answering another question as to why there was a delay in his inclusion in the Union cabinet, he said that in the past, all such offers had come through the press, while now the offer, if he receives it, would come from the Prime Minister.
When brought to notice that he could not complete any one of his three tenures as the Chief Minister – on first occasion he dissolved the government and went for a fresh mandate; on second occasion, the then governor S C Jamir dismissed the government, and now the Prime Minister is considering him for a place in central cabinet – the Chief Minister gave an amused smile.
On a parting note, Parrikar said that his shift to the national politics gives him the same feeling as one gets during eating a mango having a sweet and sour taste.
Incidentally, the crowded press conference was also attended by nearly all the officials of the Chief Minister on special duty, as well as other officials from the Chief Minister’s Office in an emotional state.