NEW DELHI: With the JD (U) bracing up to joining the NDA government at the Centre, the Cabinet expansion and reshuffle is likely to happen in the immediate future. A day after meeting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BJP chief Amit Shah stated that the JD (U) has formally been invited to join the NDA.
With the national executive meeting of the JD (U) slated for August 19, speculation is rife that the Cabinet expansion may take place in the later this month. “The JD (U) will formally pass a resolution during the national executive meeting in Patna to join the NDA. Shah has been told that the party will share the names of the MPs who could join the council of ministers headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” sources said.
Nitish Kumar loyalists and Rajya Sabha MPs — RCP Singh, Ram Nath Thakur and Harivansh — are favourites to join the join the Cabinet. “The CM is of clear view that the party nominees in the NDA government will not be chosen on the basis of caste considerations. He has taken care of such concerns in the Bihar council of ministers. Nitish wants performers to be in the Modi government, who can earn good names for the party,” sources added.
While R C P Singh is the new leader of the JD (U) in place of dissident Sharad Yadav and two terms Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Nath Thakur is a former Bihar minister and also the son of former state chief minister Karpoori Thakur. Harivansh is a journalist turned politician and a first term Rajya Sabha MP. The JD (U) has 10 Rajya Sabha MPs and two in the Lok Sabha.
“It has emerged that the JD (U) will get one Cabinet rank portfolio, one ministry with independent charge and another of the minister of state (MoS) rank,” sources said.
Incidentally, Sharad Yadav was the NDA convenor before the Bihar chief minister snapped alliance with the BJP in 2013. The BJP is keen to rope in Nitish Kumar in an important role in the NDA.