Manohar Parrikar, who is tipped to get the defence portfolio, said he would resign as the Goa chief minister on Saturday, paving the way for his induction in the Union cabinet.
Parrikar, who is all set to take over from Arun Jaitley after Sunday's expansion of the Union cabinet, will be elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh as a Bharatiya Janata Party nominee. To be a central minister he has to be a member of Parliament.
PTI adds: Amid indications that State Health Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed him, Parrikar said a new chief minister of Goa would be sworn in within two hours of his resignation.
"The BJP parliamentary board would be meeting in Delhi on Saturday 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 in Panaji on Friday morning to discuss the names.
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, hinted that Parsekar is the frontrunner for the chief ministerial post, though no one preferred to come on record.
"We will accept the decision of the party high command. Whatever would be the decision, it would be unanimous," said Parsekar, who arrived in the chief minister's official car for the meeting.
Parrikar, an IIT-Mumbai graduate and a man with a clean image, had said that BJP President Amit Shah had asked him to take up an assignment at the Centre.
Image: Goa CM Manohar Parrikar with PM Modi during a meeting in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI