Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today took additional charge of the Defence ministry
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has taken additional charge of the Defence Ministry as Manohar Parrikar stepped down over the weekend to go back to Goa to be the state's next Chief Minister. Mr Parrikar, who has been asked to take a floor test by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, will take oath later today.
Mr Jaitley, one of the seniormost ministers of the Narendra Modi government, had been handling the defence portfolio since the government came to power in May 2014. In November, , Mr Parrikar, who was the Chief Minister of Goa, was handpicked by PM Modi to take charge of the defence ministry and relieve Mr Jaitley, who was also handling the crucial finance portfolio.
Today, the Supreme Court said Mr Parrikar should take a floor test as soon as possible, dismissing a Congress claim that the Governor was wrong to invite the BJP, which got fewer seats, to prove its strength on the floor of the house.
Mr Jaitley said the Governor was constitutionally right in in inviting the leader of the majority coalition in case of a hung house.
"In a hung assembly, if majority of the elected MLAs form a coalition, the Governor would be constitutionally right in inviting the leader of the majority coalition to form the government and prove their majority within a short period," Mr Jaitley tweeted.
Mr Parrikar's decision came after the newly-elected legislators of the Goa BJP said they wanted him as the Chief Minister. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP also made it clear that its support depends on Mr Parrikar serving as the head of the alliance.