India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been given the addition duty of the defence portfolio after Manohar Parrikar resigned to take over as the chief minister of Goa. President Pranab Mukherjee said Jaitley will assume the charge of the defence ministry immediately.
This comes amid the ongoing talks about a reshuffle in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet. The finance minister was in charge of the defence ministry when Modi won the parliamentary elections in 2014.
The situation arose after Parrikar was obliged to head to Goa, the western Indian state, where assembly election results were announced on Saturday, 11 March. Local parties had abundantly made it clear that Parrikar should be made the chief minister if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which did not secure a majority, wants the support of the coalition.
"I have tendered my resignation as Defence Minister and sent it to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO)," Parrikar told the Press Trust of India news agency. "I will be taking the oath tomorrow evening along with the cabinet ministers. The decision on the number of ministers and other issues are being currently worked out. Once the cabinet is finalised, we will inform the media."
Parrikar's swearing-in ceremony is expected to take place on Tuesday, 14 March. Rupesh Kumar Thakur, secretary to the governor said: "Mridula Sinha has appointed Manohar Parrikar, the leader of the Goa BJP legislature party, as the chief minister of Goa. The Governor has asked Parrikar to prove majority in the Legislative Assembly session within 15 days after administration of oath of office."
Earlier on 11 March, results of five state assembly elections were declared providing a thumping victory for Modi's BJP, which now managed to form a government in four of them.