Manohar Parrikar, who is tipped to get the defence portfolio, on Friday said he would resign as Goa chief minister on Saturday , paving the way for his induction in the Union Cabinet.
Amid indications that state health minister Laxmikant Parsekar has emerged as the front-runner to succeed him, Parrikar said a new chief minister of Goa would be sworn in within two hours of his resignation tomorrow.
"The BJP parliamentary board would be meeting in Delhi tomorrow morning (to decide on Parrikar's successor). After that I will resign and within two hours new Chief Minister would be sworn-in," he told reporters after attending the crucial meeting of party legislators here this morning to discuss the names."
Tomorrow Parl Board will meet, then I will resign, after that MLAs will hold meet to choose next CM: Manohar Parrikar pic.twitter.com/OQebWJnRiC— ANI (@ANI_news) November 7, 2014
During the meeting, three names- state health minister Laxmikant Parsekar, assembly speaker Rajendra Arlekar and deputy chief minister Francis D'Souza - were shortlisted for the top post, sources said.
Refusing to divulge the shortlisted names, Parrikar said the list would be submitted to the party's parliamentary board, which will take a final call on it.
The party has already deputed senior leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy to oversee the developments.
The BJP legislators, who met at Porvorim on Friday, hinted that Parsekar is the front-runner for the chief ministerial post, though no one preferred to come on record.
Parrikar had said on Thursday that he would be meeting the BJP MLAs on Friday 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.
Fifty eight-year-old Parrikar may to take over the defence portfolio from Arun Jaitley, who been looking after the finance as well as defence ministry since the Narendra Modi cabinet took oath in May earlier this year.
Parrikar had 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 PM Modi had offered him the defence portfolio during their meeting on Wednesday.
"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.
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 Prime Minister, then I will let you know what are my reasons for accepting the offer," he said.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)