BJP Tight-lipped Over Cabinet as Lobbying On
By Express News Service | Published: 24th May 2014 07:35 AM |
NEW DELHI: With barely 48 hours remaining for Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, many senior BJP leaders are eagerly awaiting the call to be part of his Cabinet.
Modi has held protracted discussions with party colleagues in the last few days, keeping the hopefuls on tenterhooks. Sources said most of the elected MPs have arrived here, just in case they receive a call to be part of the Cabinet at the last moment.
Though, most portfolio allocations will be decided by Modi considering regional and caste factors, many of the new comers are hoping to get lucky and be picked to give a fresh look to the government.
On Friday, Modi, held a meeting with party president Rajnath Singh, former party chief Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and his confidant Amit Shah. With most of the elected MPs and BJP leaders only getting used to Modi’s style of functioning, everyone has been tight-lipped and many even clueless on the discussions on Cabinet formation. Going by Modi’s style the Cabinet is expected to have fewer ministers than the previous government, but there will be more junior ministers.
In the wake of the party’s thumping victory, Modi has been meeting several leaders and seeking their views, but has kept his cards close to his chest. As both Rajnath and Nitin are likely to move into the Cabinet, a new party chief would have to be appointed. Party general secretary J P Nadda’s name has been doing the rounds for the job.
Rajnath met Shiromani Akali Dal chief and Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal, at his residence. Though the Akalis have officially denied that they were looking for a place in the Cabinet, given that they have been the BJP’s oldest allies and always stood behind Modi, some of their elected MPs are likely to be chosen. Sukhbir’s wife Harsimrit Kaur could also make the cut, given that she has been elected to the Lok Sabha for the second time. Significantly, RSS leader Ram Madhav also met Rajnath at his residence.
Senior BJP general secretaries Ramlal, Ananth Kumar and Nadda held separate meetings with Rashtrapati Bhavan officials to finalise the list of invitees and discuss preparations for the swearing-in. The BJP has drawn up a list of close to 3000 invitees.
The BJP is likely to extend invites to a few Bollywood personalities, including Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar. Modi’s mother could also be part of the swearing-in ceremony. Apart from the Heads of States, all Chief Ministers, former Union Ministers, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, leaders of various parties and diplomats stationed here are being invited. Among the BJP leaders, all MPs and ex-MPs, Chief Ministers and ministers of the BJP-ruled states, and office bearers at the national and state level will be invited.
Expelled Jaswant Meets Advani
Ousted BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Friday met party patriarch L K Advani, sparking speculation that he could be looking for a rapprochement after fighting a bitter war of words with the BJP over the denial of ticket from his preferred Barmer seat. However, the septuagenarian leader lost the election from his home turf. The party also expelled his son and MLA Manvendra Singh as he campaigned for his father. Jaswant Singh was miffed that action was taken against his son.