New Delhi: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, whose induction in the cabinet seems very much likely, said on Thursday that he has not been approached by the Prime Minister yet but didn't deny any possibility of him getting a cabinet berth.
Parrikar, who is leading the race to become the Defence Minister, told presspersons that he has been told by the BJP to accept any responsibility that will be given to him by the party, adding that the country is above the state.
Parrikar met with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators on Thursday at his official residence here. The meeting was also attended by Goa party president Vinay Tendulkar and organising secretary Satish Dhond.
"Even if the chief minister's name has been shortlisted along with others for the defence ministry, we have to prepare for a contingency," a party source told IANS.
Emerging from the meeting with Modi Wednesday, Parrikar denied his visit to New Delhi had anything to do with his possible induction in the union cabinet, which is expected to be expanded within the week.
"The issue did not come up during our discussions," Parrikar said.
The meeting of BJP legislators here is also expected to name a potential successor to Parrikar, in the eventuality that he does make to journey to the capital.
The top names in the reckoning are of Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, Health Minister Laxmikant Parsenkar and Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza.
Arlekar has solid Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) credentials and also enjoys the confidence of Parrikar.
One potential blip on his record, however, is a petition by a lawyer activist pending in a trial court accusing the speaker of allegedly amassing disproportionate assets.
Parsenkar has been a state chief of the BJP on two occasions and like Arlekar has traditionally enjoyed the confidence of the chief minister.
On Wednesday, both Arlekar and Parsenkar said they were not actively gunning for the top slot.
D'Souza, on the other hand who has avoided the media, has in the past been a rallying point for dissenting legislators within the BJP, especially the Catholic legislators within the party.
He is also one of BJP's oldest minority faces. While his inconsistent health is a matter of concern, his appointment as chief minister could help the party appease the state's 26 percent Catholic population.
(With IANS inputs)