Arun Jaitley gets Defence portfolio after Parrikar’s resignation

Arun Jaitley
The Centre today lowered interest rates by 0.1 per cent on Public Provident Fund and small savings deposits. The new rate would be effective from April 1.

New Delhi, March 13: Arun Jaitley, the Union finance minister will hold the additional charge of Defence Minister as President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the resignation of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday.

Arun Jaitley held the Ministry of Defence before Manohar Parrikar was selected to the post. He beared the additional charge of the MoD from May 2014 to November 2014.

Manohar Parrikar will go back to his role as Goa chief minister and be taking oath of office on tomorrow.

“I have presented my resignation as Defence Minister and have sent it to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). I will be taking the oath as Goa chief minister tomorrow evening 5 PM, along with the cabinet ministers,” Manohar Parrikar said early today.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which failed to cross the half-way mark in the Goa 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 Assembly.

Cabinet Reshuffle: 

The resignation of Manohar Parikkar to take oath as Goa Chief Minister has set off suppositions on who could be his successor in Defence Ministry and whether this would lead to a domino effect of changes in the Union Cabinet.

Top sources in the government say that it’s quite possible that there will be changes in the Union Cabinet, and that at least one Chief Minister of a Bharatiya Janata Party ruled State will be moved to Delhi. A senior general secretary from the central team of the Bharatiya Janata Party may be sent as a replacement Chief Minister there.

“Once the Parliament session is done [the second part of the Budget Session is underway] a larger Cabinet reshuffle is possible,” said one source.

“With the victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the Narendra Modi’s grip over both the party and the government is unassailable and we don’t anticipate any kind of protest even if powerful chief ministers are called to Delhi,” said a senior office-bearer of the Bharatiya Janata Party privy to the developments.