TDP's demand for NDA convener post stirs tension within BJP

Allies' demand for ministerial berths and picking the probables from within their party for the coalition government were discussed at the meeting held at JP Nadda's residence.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA partners N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA partners N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.Photo | Praveen Negi, EPS

NEW DELHI: Amid speculations of possible demands for many ministries, a new demand from NDA ally TDP for the post of NDA convener, which has been floating around the political corridors of the national capital since late Wednesday evening, is not going down well with the Saffron Party.

"The media's coverage of the TDP's request for NDA convener post may be seen as unjustified, as it's based on sources rather than verified facts. Either TDP has to remain with the demand for the LS Speaker or the post of NDA convener. Our party leadership is weighing every possible demand of allies before the meeting of the NDA Parliamentary Party tomorrow," said a senior BJP leader when asked by TNIE.

In fact, emerging news regarding TDP and JDU demands in the coalition government's cabinet—much ahead of the formation of the government for the third term—is causing ripples across the choppy waters of the BJP. Senior leaders assigned with the task of speaking to allies before the government formation are also reportedly working on other options.

At a meeting held at BJP president J P Nadda's residence, issues such as the allies share of ministerial berths and picking the probables from within their party for the coalition government were discussed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA partners N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
Whittled down Modi 3.0

A senior source admitted that if TDP makes demands for both the NDA convener and the LS Speaker posts, it would face resistance from the BJP.

"NDA leaders have unanimously elected Narendra Modi as their leader to head the Modi 3.0 government for the sake of national development, and everyone in this alliance is bound to ensure the smooth formation and functioning of the government. If anything unfortunate happens, it would not only demean the political prospects of the BJP but also those who would be the cause of it," a BJP source said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA partners N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
TDP seeks Speaker’s chair, 5 Cabinet berths

"In fact, the BJP leadership is expected to consider the demands of both JDU and TDP for special economic packages for Bihar and AP, but it seems impossible to meet every demand of allies, such as those for the NDA convener or the LS Speaker," said a political observer close to the BJP here.

In fact, the post of alliance convener remains either with the party having the highest number of MPs or goes to the party with the second or third highest number of MPs in the alliance.

Sources said that if the LS Speaker post goes to TDP, JDU may emerge as a natural claimant for the post of NDA convener.

"As it seems feasible, Nitish Kumar may hold this post if the LS Speaker post is given to TDP by the BJP."

On the other hand, the BJP leadership has managed the support of some independents and smaller parties, which may keep the Modi government safe and stable to some extent, in case TDP or JDU, both of which are still not guaranteed to maintain their support, decide to withdraw their support.

BJP unlikely to part with six crucial ministries

After receiving reaffirmation of the alliance promise from its allies to stay together under the Modi leadership, the BJP has reportedly drawn the line on the top cabinet berths. Sources said the BJP is unlikely to compromise on at least six key ministries with NDA partners. These ministries are: the Railway, Home, Finance, Defence, Law and Information Technology.

Sources said the allies have set their sight on 10-12 ministries. Meanwhile, the BJP further shored up its ally support: Seven independent and 3 from small parties came forward to support the BJP. With 10 more MPs, the NDA has the backing of 303 MPs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA partners N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
BJP unlikely to part with six crucial ministries

Nitish to ask for special status for Bihar, key ministries

The JD(U) is reportedly lobbying for a special category status for Bihar in addition to key ministries including rural development, defence, railways, agriculture and 2 MoS posts.

As per reports, the party is also keen on the post of vice-chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

More clarity on the portfolios is expected at the NDA parliamentary party meet on June 7.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy eyes Agriculture portfolio

JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy hinted that his party was interested in the Agriculture portfolio in the new NDA Government.

Regarding speculation in some quarters that he will be the Agriculture Minister, with similar desire being expressed by several other JD(S) leaders, he acknowledged that his party's interest is in the Agriculture department, "Let's see what decisions will happen."

"Our party's interest is in the Agriculture department. Our fight since the beginning has been towards doing good for the farming community," Kumaraswamy told reporters in Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA partners N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
HD Kumaraswamy eyes agriculture portfolio

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