NEW DELHI: Aiming to create a robust party leadership for the next decade that is familiar with all aspects of governance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday began consultations to pick his new council of ministers, so as to consolidate the stunning gains the BJP made in the Lok Sabha elections.
According to sources, 50% of the ministers could be first-timers. Team Modi will have a pan-India flavour, with strong representation from the South and the East.
“Regional balance and creating a new pan-India leadership would be the yardstick for the selection of ministers. Preference will be given to professionals. The BJP is still committed to its ‘Mission South’. Along with Karnataka, other states will get due representation,” sources said.
While Uttar Pradesh will get the lion’s share with about 10 berths, Bihar (8), Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan (six each), and West Bengal and Odisha (three each) would have big representation, sources said. Assam, Kerala, Telangana and the Northeast, too, would be adequately represented.
From states bound for Assembly election, such as Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, fresh tribal and Scheduled Caste leaders could be accommodated.
Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh, former chief ministers of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh respectively, are being persuaded to join the Modi Cabinet, sources said.
If they are inducted, Shah would want to pass on the party’s leadership baton in both states to new faces.
Newly elected Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi, a former IAS officer, is tipped to get a berth as a minister of state.
NDA ally JD (U) will be the new entrant in the council of ministers. It is likely to get at least two berths, with Rajya Sabha MP R C P Singh and Lok Sabha MP Rajeev Ranjan Singh being the frontrunners.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is preparing to organise a grand swearing-in ceremony to match the stature of Modi on the world stage.
Invites could go out to the heads of G-20 nations and those of the Muslim world, sources indicated. The new Cabinet may take the oath of office and secrecy on May 30.
Also lined up for Modi is a thanksgiving trip to his Varanasi constituency, besides a visit to Ahmedabad to take blessings from his mother Heeraben Modi.