Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah on Monday said the party’s next government in Goa will function under the leadership of Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, irrespective of his posting, The Times of India reported. At a public meeting in the town of Vasco, Shah called Parrikar “a jewel in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet” who was in demand in both Goa and Delhi.

“The people of Goa demand that we should send Parrikar back to Goa,” Shah said. “Whether he returns to Goa or continues to remain at the Centre will be decided only after the elections.” The BJP president’s remarks have added to the speculation about Parrikar’s possible return to the state following the February 4 Assembly elections in the state.

On January 12, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had hinted that the BJP was open to making “a leader in Delhi” the state’s next chief minister if the party won the Assembly elections. However, Parrikar dismissed the comments, saying, “As far as I am concerned, let’s cross the bridge when we come to it,” News18 reported.

The former state chief minister was inducted into the Union Cabinet in November 2014.