Retorting to the flak over Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) not being able get a representation in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, party general secretary K.C. Tyagi on Sunday said that the rejig was Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) internal matter and non-National Democratic Alliance (NDA) affair. Tyagi said JD(U) commenting on an internal reshuffle, hence, was not pertinent. “This was a reshuffle, amid the BJP and it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to handle his Cabinet. It was the BJP’s internal reshuffle and not the NDA’s, so we would not like to comment on it,” said Tyagi. Tyagi also downplayed Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Yadav’s remarks ridiculing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said that the latter is famous for making frivolous comments. “Lalu Yadav is known for his non-serious comments and people don’t give any importance to his statements. Nitish Kumar’s fate is better than Lalu Yadav’s fate,” he added.
At a time when JD(U) patched-up with the BJP, it was speculated that the Nitish Kumar led party will claim high stakes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet. However contrary to the expected, no JD(U) leader got upgraded in the Central team. The Cabinet rejig saw the promotion of as many as four Ministers of State to the rank of Cabinet ministers today. Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, took the oath as the Cabinet ministers at the ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Pradhan is known to have spearheaded one of Prime Minister Modi’s main schemes – the “Give it Up” plan for people to forego subsidised cooking gas or LPG voluntarily. Beside managing to maintain ties with the Opposition parties, Naqvi has done wonders for the Union Government as the spokesperson in the Parliament and outside.
Nirmala Sitharaman, serving as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance headed by Arun Jaitley, also took the oath. Sitharaman had travelled to China for a BRICS meeting, in the middle of a lengthy standoff at the border over Doklam. Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, was also sworn-in as the Cabinet minister. He had brought about a turnaround in power production and delivered on the government’s plan to electrify villages.
Other ministers who were handed over bigger responsibilities are:
-Shiv Pratap Shukla
-Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Buxar, Bihar
-Virendra Kumar, a Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgah, Madhya Pradesh
-Anant Kumar Hegde, a Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada, Karnataka
-Raj Kumar Singh
-Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
-Satya Pal Singh
-Alphons Kannanthanam, a distinguished former IAS officer of the 1979 batch, Kerala cadre
Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to leave for China wherein he would attend the BRICS Summit.