Goa CM set to be India's new Defence Minister?

Goa's Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar could soon be India's new defence minister.

There is speculation over the possibility of a Union cabinet reshuffle, possibly as early as Sunday. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi amidst reports that he could be asked to take over the critical defence portfolio.

Currently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is also the Defence Minister but obviously cannot handle two heavyweight portfolios. Work on the Union Budget 2015-16 is to begin soon, which will keep the Finance Minister's hands full. Sources say that the Prime Minister has already spoken to Parrikar on the subject when he met him during one of the stopovers while campaigning in Maharashtra for he assembly elections. The matter apparently did not progress in the hectic election schedule.

Though the Goa chief minister was said to benot too keen on moving to the centre, Prime Minister Modi is said to want him in the crucial defence portfolio. Parikkar is a hugely successful, popular and hands-on chief minister, an IIT Bombay graduate, and energetic and efficient. Soft-spoken, without any airs and easily approachable, he is also someone with the ability to take tough calls when needed. Moreover, he is one of the favourites of the RSS.

The Prime Minister wants someone who is honest, committed and efficient in the crucial defence ministry, where the scope for shady deals and graft is enormous. With complexities on India's borders increasing, and the country's long-term weapons aqcuisitons and capability-enhancement plans set to shift into the next gear, the importance of an individual of integrity to handle this responsibility cannot be overstated.

There has been intense speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is about to carry out his first cabinet reshuffle this week. The Prime Minister has a budy international schedule which also includes his presence at the G-20 Summit at Brisbane, Australia. Manohar Parrikkar could be the country's new defence minister by then.

Courtesy India Tomorrow


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