New Delhi: Ahead of Sunday's cabinet reshuffle in which Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's name is being touted as the new defence minister, Arun Jaitley, who holds the dual portfolios of finance and defence, Friday said he has always maintained that defence was a "temporary charge" with him.
Asked point-blank by TV talk show host Karan Thapar if he was "happy to lose" charge of the defence portfolio as was being widely speculated, Jaitley to smiles and laughter from the audience said: "When I took over charge of the ministry, I said it was a temporary charge... it was an additional charge."
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar
Asked if he was "itching to get out of South Block", Jaitley persisted in the same vein: "Well, it was always an additional, and when I took it I assumed I would have to give it up."
Jaitley was answering questions posed by Thapar at a discussion during the launch of journalist Rajdeep Sardesai's book "2014: The Election that changed India".