Parrikar dodges query on Advani as future minister

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Monday dodged questions on whether senior BJP leader L.K. Advani should be part of the Narendra Modi cabinet, if the BJP wins the Lok Sabha election.

Parrikar was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a restaurant launch in Panaji, when he was asked to respond to a report in a newspaper on Modi’s possible team if he becomes prime minister.

While Parrikar was named ‘home minister’ in the news story, Advani, a former deputy prime minister, found no mention as a cabinet minister.

“Let him (Modi) become PM, then let him decide,” Parrikar said.

Media reports over the last few months have spoken about differences between Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, and Advani.

The newspaper report, however, also suggested a possibility that Advani could be made chairman of the National Democratic Alliance, in case the coalition wins the election.

Parrikar, considered close to Modi, had a few years ago likened the ageing Advani to “rancid pickle”.

Incidentally, it was also the Goa chief minister who made the first formal pitch for Modi to lead the party in the 2014 election at the BJP national convention held in Goa last year.

The newspaper report included top BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh (as defence minister), Arun Jaitley (finance) and Sushma Swaraj (external affairs) as possible members of the Modi cabinet, along with Parrikar.

The chief minister told reporters he was pleasantly surprised by the news report, but also said he was “happy” in Goa.

“People elected us for five years. I will serve for five years,” he said, quickly adding a rider.

“If something was required (of me) by the party, the party would have spoken to me and not a newspaper,” Parrikar said.