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Modi likely to expand cabinet Sunday

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Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. FILE PHOTO

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. FILE PHOTO
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. FILE PHOTO

The first expansion of the Narendra Modi government is likely to take place with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar among the new faces expected to be inducted in the council of ministers.

Informed sources said the expansion may also see greater representation among some allies and more balance in representation from states.

Parrikar Thursday virtually confirmed his moving to the union cabinet. The Bharatiya Janata Party legislators in Goa are expected to meet Friday to discuss about his successor.

Parrikar is being tipped for the key defence ministry portfolio, one of the two held by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The 58-year-old Parrikar said he was instructed by BJP president Amit Shah to accept any responsibility entrusted by Prime Minister Modi.

He, however, told the media that the portfolio he was to get has not been revealed to him yet.

“Amit Shah told me to accept any assignment given to me by the prime minister. The second part is the prerogative of the prime minister,” Parrikar said, ending speculation on his appointment as a cabinet minister.

Parrikar, along with state party president Vinay Tendulkar and organising secretary Satish Dhond, met Shah Wednesday in New Delhi, fuelling speculation about his inclusion in the union cabinet.

He said the BJP’s parliamentary board, the highest decision-making body in the party, would take a final call on issues related to the cabinet expansion Saturday morning.

“On the morning of Nov 8, many issues will be clear to you,” Parrikar said, adding that he was forced to address the media Thursday to steer clear of speculation.

Other names doing the rounds for likely induction in the council of ministers include BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and party’s youth wing chief Anurag Thakur.

Thakur is a Lok Sabha member from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh which does not have a representative in the council of ministers.

Sources said a few more leaders from the Telugu Desam Party and the Shiv Sena could also find a place in the union council of ministers.

BJP parliamentarians Giriraj Singh and Jayant Sinha may also be inducted, sources said.

Besides Jaitley, many ministers in the Modi government, including Nitin Gadkari, Prakash Javadekar, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal, have charge of multiple ministries.

Sunday was mentioned as the likely day for expansion as Modi is scheduled to leave on a foreign tour Nov 11. The winter session of parliament is scheduled to begin Nov 24.