Parrikar returns to Goa, Jaitley gets back defence portfolio

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar resigned on Monday to take charge as chief minister of Goa after the BJP cobbled up a coalition that gave it 21 members in a House of 40 MLAs.

Parrikar resigned as defence minister earlier today and will be sworn in as the chief minister of Goa tomorrow heading the BJP-led ministry, which has the support of regional outfits and Independents.

Parrikar will be taking the oath tomorrow evening along with the cabinet ministers.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley was given the additional charge of defence ministry.

President Pranab Mukherjee has accepted the resignation of Manohar Parrikar from the council of ministers with immediate effect, a statement from the President's secretariat said.

''The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Shri Manohar Parrikar, from the Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution.

"Arun Jaitley shall be assigned the charge of the ministry of defence, in addition to his existing portfolios," the release added.

Parrikar said the number of ministers and other issues are being currently worked out.

The BJP, which failed to cross the half-way mark in the assembly polls with its tally dipping to 13 from 21, pulled off a coup yesterday by enlisting the support of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and two Independents, to reach the magic figure of 21 in the 40-member House.

Thirteen BJP MLA and other legislators who pledged support to the party met governor Mridula Sinha last evening, who later invited Parrikar to form the government (See: Congress challenges BJP's Goa move in Supreme Court).

The Congress, which emerged the largest party with 17 seats, was hoping to get the support of the GFP, which has bagged three seats in its maiden bid at the hustings.

But deft moves by party veteran and union minister Nitin Gadkari helped keep the Congress at bay and BJP won over smaller parties and Independents, who were keen that Parrikar should lead the ministry.

Parrikar, 61, an engineer from IIT-Bombay, led the BJP in 2012 to victory and became the CM. His elevation as defence minister at the centre in 2014 and replacement by Laxmikant Parsekar now look a retrograde step by the BJP.

Parsekar was defeated in Mandrem constituency this time and also most of the ministers in his cabinet failed to win.

Parrikar, who graduated to the BJP from the RSS ranks, had also served as CM of the state from 2000 to 2002 and from 2002 to 2005.