Ahead of swearing-in, PM Modi, Amit Shah brainstorm for seven hours to pick Cabinet members

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Published: May 29, 2019 9:09:18 AM

Shah and Modi were together in Ahmedabad and Varanasi over the last few days. It is believed that they must have discussed the matter. However, there was no official word on the deliberations between them.

cabinet ministers list, council of ministers, modi cabinet ministers Amit Shah and Narendra Modi hold close-door meeting at latter’s residence on Tuesday to discuss the members of the Union Cabinet.

Caretaker Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Tuesday held a marathon meeting lasting around seven hours at former’s residence to discuss the formation of the new NDA government which will be sworn in for a second term on Thursday. According to a report in The Indian Express, Shah has spoken to all the BJP state unit presidents and leaders to seek their inputs and suggestions. Also, all eyes are on the participation of NDA partners in the new Cabinet. The NDA constitutes over three dozen parties but those that would be given a respectful representation in the government include Shiv Sena, JD(U), LJP, Akali Dal and AIADMK. All the leaders of these parties were given pride of place on the stage during the NDA Parliamentary Party meeting that took place last week following the declaration of the general elections results.

The BJP is keen on having a handsome representation from West Bengal, Odisha, North-East and Telangana in the Council of Ministers. Out of 88 parliamentary seats in West Bengal, Odisha and North-East, the BJP has won 44 this time. In Telangana, the BJP is hopeful of making gain after winning four seats.

Shah and Modi were together in Ahmedabad and Varanasi over the last few days. It is believed that they must have discussed the matter. However, there was no official word on the deliberations between them.

Also, speculation is rife over Amit Shah’s entry in the new government. The IE report said that while a section in the BJP feels that party chief could join the government after playing a crucial role in the party’s return to power, another group argued that he should continue his role in the party. Shah has refrained from commenting so far on the matter.

There has been speculation that Arun Jaitley may opt out due to health reasons and he could travel abroad for treatment. In the previous government, Jaitley held the crucial Finance portfolio. The 66-year-old leader is a key strategist of the BJP and has not been attending office for the past three weeks. Also, he did not attend the last Cabinet meeting of the outgoing government and celebrations at the BJP headquarters last week. However, he went to the Finance Ministry for a customary meeting with top officials. This was his last public engagement.

Jaitley was recently admitted to the AIIMS but was later discharged. He had undergone a renal transplant surgery in May last year. People close to Jaitley have insisted that he is doing well after undergoing treatment.

A number of senior faces including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Narendra Singh Tomar and Prakash Javadekar are likely to figure in the new cabinet. There is no clarity over Sushma Swaraj’s role in the new government. In the previous government, Swaraj had served as the Foreign Minister. But she didn’t contest the Lok Sabha elections due to poor health.

Speculation is rife that Smriti Irani, who defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi by 55,000 votes in Amethi, is likely to get a key post.

Also, the Shiv Sena and the JD(U) are expected to get two berths (one cabinet and one MoS) each, while the LJP and the SAD may be given one berth each. Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK won only one seat and may be given a ministerial berth. The AIADMK was not part of the previous government but backed the government on many occasion. The party formally joined the NDA just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

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