Modi 3.0 cabinet: Intense bargaining on for special economic packages; TDP likely to get cabinet berth

The TDP has reportedly decided to consider three-time MP K Ram Mohan Naidu for the Cabinet berth.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with key allies TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar during National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with key allies TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar during National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi.File Photo | PTI

The 'guess who will be the cabinet minister' game is on as PM Modi is all set to head his first coalition government. The swearing-in ceremony of the NDA government is scheduled for Sunday.

The biggest questions centre around the top portfolios, all of which are expected to be retained by the BJP. These include Home, Finance, Defence, External Affairs, Road Transport, Railways, IT and Education.

JD(U) and TDP are expected to get ministerial berths, according to well-placed sources.

JD(U) could get up to two ministerial berths, according to them.

TDP's ministerial choices

The TDP has reportedly decided to consider Srikakulam MP K Ram Mohan Naidu, a BC leader, for the Cabinet berth as he scored a hat-trick win in the elections.

Son of ex-Union Minister, Kinjarapu Yerran Naidu, Ram Mohan Naidu was educated at the Delhi Public School, RK Puram, before he did his MBA from the Purdue University in the US and and MBA from the Long Island University. A man with friends from across the political spectrum, he is also fluent in both English and Hindi.

Either SC leader and Chittoor MP Daggumalla Prasada Rao, Amalapuram MP G Harish Madhur, ex-Speaker GMC Balayogi's son, or Guntur MP Pemmasani Chandrasekhar might be the likely choices for the Minister of State posts, sources added.

If the party gets four berths, Nellore MP Vemireddy Prabhakar Reddy may be considered for one.

JD(U) and TDP have also demanded special category status for Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and there is intense bargaining for the economic packages, according to those in the know.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with key allies TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar during National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed on Saturday that he will be taking the final call on ministries.

There is no clear indication yet on how many ministers will be sworn in.

Many BJP leaders were said to be pacifying the gods in a bid to land positions in the new cabinet. The BJP is also reportedly considering dropping several ministers who served in the Modi government’s second term.

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Who will be dropped?

The ministers who could be jettisoned include those who were defeated in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

About 19 ministers of Modi's second term have lost the elections by big margins.

Prominent among them are Smriti Irani, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, RK Singh and Arjun Munda, all cabinet ministers. Chandrasekhar might escape the axe since he put up a strong fight against Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram.

Smriti Irani, Arjun Munda and RK Singh may also be accommodated in the Rajya Sabha and retained as they were vocal on the government policies and handled their ministries well.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with key allies TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar during National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi.
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Sources suggested that the BJP leadership was disinclined to induct MPs with slender victory margins as ministers in the cabinet.

The forthcoming cabinet is said to be a balanced one reflecting regional representation, caste dynamics, and administrative competence.

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It is also said changes were in the offing in some key ministries under the "BJP quota".

One such instance is likely to be in the ministry of finance and the ministry of commerce and industry.

The tribal affairs ministry is likely to go with an NDA ally while the ministry of power may go with TDP or JDU.

"If the railway ministry remains with BJP, one of the two MoS posts could go either to the JD(U) or TDP or Shiv Sena Shinde faction," said a source.

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