Amid speculations that Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar might be elevated to the post of Union defence minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) local unit will meet on Thursday and is expected to finalise a name for state's top job.
According to party sources, Parrikar, who is currently in New Delhi along with Goa unit president Vinay Tendulkar and general secretary Satish Dhond, will arrive in Panaji to attend the meeting in the afternoon.
Parrikar held discussions on Wednesday with BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi amidst reports that he could get the defence portfolio in a Union cabinet reshuffle likely Sunday. Later in the night, he followed it up with a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and told reporters after the meet that they only discussed Goa issues.
"The discussion would be held on who should be next Goa chief minister and also candidate contesting the Panaji seat, which would fall vacant after Parrikar resigns to take the bigger assignment," a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity.
The party has not disclosed the venue of the meeting to avoid workers' and media attention.
The names of two veterans — health minister Laxmikant Parsekar and speaker of legislative assembly Rajendra Arlekar, are considered for the top post, sources said.
Both the leaders with RSS background, in the past have headed the party in the state.
"I will go by what party decides. I am not in the race. There is no race for the post. It would be the decision of the party," Parsekar said.
Arlekar, on the other hand, said that he had not yet been communicated anything about the CM's post.
"I have not been communicated anything. But if party gives me any responsibility I will handle it to my best capacity," said Arlekar, an MLA from Pernem constituency.
Parsekar and Arlekar are among those leaders, who along with Parrikar laid foundation of BJP in the state, fighting against regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Congress.
MLA Parsekar represents Mandrem constituency in North Goa, had led BJP's state unit in 2002 and 2012 when it won in Goa.