Manohar Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is quitting his office on Saturday but BJP is divided over next Goa CM.IANS

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is quitting his office on Saturday, after accepting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to join his central cabinet.

Stressing that "no one says no to a prime minister", Parrikar told reporters that he was formally invited by Modi to join his central cabinet and although he is sad to leave Goa, he has decided to accept the offer.

Parrikar is expected to be sworn in as India's next union defence minister on Sunday.

Meanwhile, as the Goa chief minister makes a move to the Centre, the state unit of BJP is divided over the issue of who will succeed Parrikar. According to a report from Indian Express, the party is split over whether the chair should be occupied by a candidate with RSS leanings or by the Catholic face of the party.

Among the main contenders for the seat is state Health Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who comes with a strong RSS background like Parrikar. Goa's Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, also an RSS man, is another front runner along with Shripad Naik, Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism.

However, in what appears to be an embarrassing moment for BJP, Goa's Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza has threatened to quit the government if he is not made the chief minister, according to an IANS report.

"If I am not made the chief minister, I do not wish to continue in the government," D'Souza was quoted as saying. He reportedly has the backing of six BJP legislators, including at least three Catholic legislators. On Friday, D'Souza cut short his visit to London and rushed to Goa to stake his claim over the chair of CM.

According to Parrikar, who held an informal meeting with the party's 21 legislators on Friday, there were two or three candidates to be chosen from.

"However it is the prerogative of the legislators and I cannot reveal what they have expressed in confidence," he said. "We will officially announce the name tomorrow. As for D'Souza, I will be holding a meeting with him later tonight."