President Pranab Mukherjee has accepted the resignation of Manohar Parrikar, who stepped down from the defence minister's post today morning. Finance Minister and leader of the house in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has been given additional charge of the defence ministry.
Parrikar is going back to Goa, where he will take over as the coastal state's chief minister.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan released an official statement saying, "The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Shri Manohar Parrikar, from the Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution."
The president, acting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's advice, assigned the charge of the Defence Ministry to Arun Jaitley, who is also the finance minister.
Shri Arun Jaitley shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence, in addition to his existing portfolios
- President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) March 13, 2017
The 64-year-old Jaitley is also the Minister of Corporate Affairs and is considered to be among the cabinet minsters close to PM Modi. Jaitley, in fact, was appointed defence minister in 2014 when the Modi government came into power.
Jaitley was in the position for a few months before Manohar Parrikar, then the Goa chief minister, was called to New Delhi to take charge of the defence portfolio. Jaitley, a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, was also a cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government; he handled law and commerce and industry.
PARRIKAR TO TAKE OATH TOMORROW
Meanwhile, Manohar Parrikar is already back in Goa, where he will take oath as the chief minister tomorrow. Celebrating Holi in Panaji, Parrikar said that senior BJP leaders Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari will attend his swearing-in ceremony.
Parrikar, who had a taint-free run as the defence minister, is taking charge as Goa CM after the Bharatiya Janata Party won 13 seats, but later cobbled together a majority by garnering support from local parties and independents. The Congress, which won in 17 constituencies, was unable to win over enough MLAs to get a majority in the 40-seat Goa Assembly.