- BJP has staked claim to form government in Goa
- Manohar Parrikar to lead Goa government as demanded by MLAs, allies
- Defence Ministry returns to Arun Jaitley
Rashtrapati Bhavan said President Pranab Mukherjee had accepted Mr Parrikar's resignation with immediate effect. "Further as advised by the Prime Minister, the President has directed that Shri Arun Jaitley, Cabinet Minister, shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence, in addition to his existing portfolios," a statement from Mr Mukherjee's office said. Mr Jaitley will formally assume charge on Tuesday morning.
Mr Jaitley had started out his innings in the Modi Government with charge for the two ministries on either side of Raisina Hill; the finance ministry in North Block and the defence ministry across the road, in South Block. He relinquished the defence ministry in November 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in Manohar Parrikar from Goa to continue attempts to get the procurement process - halted during the previous UPA's tenure - back on track.
But Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar - who had replaced Mr Parrikar in 2014 - was not a patch on his predecessor. The BJP not only ended up with just 13 seats in the 40-seat assembly in the just-concluded elections but Mr Parsekar could not win a seat for himself. And he had contested from two.
Even as Defence Minister, Mr Parrikar has often been called Goa's super chief minister, a reflection of the IIT-Bombay graduate's abiding interest in state politics even after taking charge of the Defence Ministry.
That the defence minister was headed home became crystal clear over the weekend when the BJP's former former ally, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP, offered support to the BJP on condition that Mr Parrikar heads the government.
It is an option that Mr Parrikar had never really turned his back on. When he was asked about the possibility of his return to state politics after he voted in last month's election, Mr Parrikar's gave a cryptic response: "I have lost 4 kg in Delhi because of the food. I like Goan food. You can interpret this the way you want."