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Amit Shah asked me to take up assignment at Centre: Manohar Parrikar

Panaji: Breaking his silence over reports about his possible appointment as Defence Minister, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today said BJP chief Amit Shah had asked him to take up an assignment at the Centre, if offered, and that he was willing to shoulder the responsibility.

He also said though he does not feel comfortable about shifting to Delhi, he will take up the responsibility "if nation requires" his services. "Party President Amit Shah spoke to me in the morning and asked me to accept any assignment that would be given by the Prime Minister," Parrikar told reporters.

However, he did not disclose whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered him the defence portfolio during their meeting yesterday. "I want to give proper information as far as joining the cabinet is concerned. It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. However, I would like to inform that the party has indicated to me that if such assignment comes, you should accept it," he said.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. File pic

Parrikar said if any offer had to come, it would have to be before November 9, when union cabinet would be expanded. "The party would not have asked me (to accept the offer) if they (top BJP leaders) had not interacted with the Prime Minister," he added. Parrikar, who led BJP to victory in the 2012 Assembly polls, said he was not comfortable about having to shift to the Centre. "I am not comfortable, I have too much affection towards the state.

But rationality tells me if nation requires your services, I should take it. Whenever Goa wants my services, I will be there," he said. "One reservation (about moving to Delhi) is because I have been elected for a five-year term with a popular mandate. My feeling is unless I complete the term it is not right on my part to leave mid-way. If I get an offer from the PrimeMinister, then I will let you know what are my reasons for accepting the offer," he said. Parrikar said he would be meeting BJP MLAs tomorrow to brief them about the development.

He, however, refused to say anything about who would be his successor. "There are many issues in deciding the successor... his capacity to deliver and to take everyone along. That is party's internal assessment," he said. Meanwhile, top sources in Goa BJP said Parrikar will resign as Chief Minister on November 8, the day party's central Parliamentary Board will announce the name of his successor.

"The announcement of the name of the new Chief Minister will be made in Delhi after the party's Parliamentary Board meets on November 8 at 10 AM," Parrikar said. BJP has called a meeting of its Legislature Party at 12 PM to formally choose its leader who will be the Chief Minister. Party sources said Parrikar will resign in the afternoon so that his successor could be sworn-in later in the day. Parrikar, while talking to reporters, ruled out the possibility of senior BJP leader and Union Tourism Minister Sripad Naik returning as Chief Minister.

"He is already in the Union Cabinet," he said responding to a question. BJP, which heads a coalition government in Goa withMaharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, has an absolute majority inthe 40-member Assembly with 21 MLAs.

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