Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar has said that his Janata Dal United will not join Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government. "The offer we got was not acceptable," the Bihar Chief Minister told reporters as he left for PM Modi's oath ceremony. “They (BJP) wanted only 1 person from JDU in the cabinet, so it would have been just a symbolic participation. We informed them that it is ok we don't need it. It is not a big issue; we are fully in NDA and not upset at all. We are working together, no confusion,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, the prime minister held a final round of consultations with BJP president Amit Shah to give shape to his council of ministers before sending the list to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Capping a landslide election victory, Modi will take oath along with his new council of ministers at 7 pm. As the party geared up for the celebrations, Shah’s Akbar Road residence was decked up. Modi and Shah have held several rounds of discussions in the last two days ahead of government formation.
Other senior party leaders such as Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Narendra Singh Tomar, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Smriti Irani are also likely to join the second Modi government after being its members in its first avatar.
The others tipped to get a ministerial berth include Sadananda Gowda, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Giriraj Singh, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Thawarchand Gehlot, Dilip Ghosh, Jitendra Singh, Mansukh Mandaviya, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Arjun Ram Meghawal and Niranjan Jyoti.
Sushma Swaraj is also likely to be part of the government.
Among some of the new faces that are likely to be inducted include Prahlad Patel from Madhya Pradesh, Kailash Chowdhry from Rajasthan, Krishna Reddy from Telangana and Suresh Angedi from Karnataka and Raosaheb Danve from Maharashtra.
Among allies, Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP, Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena, Harsimrat Kaur Badal of Akali Dal and Ramdas Athawale of RPI(A) are likely to take oath, official sources said.
The sources said Modi government 2.0 is likely to showcase the party’s newfound strength in different regions.
BJP allies like Shiv Sena, JD(U), AIADMK, LJP, Akali Dal and Apna Dal are set to be represented in the government.
The Shiv Sena has confirmed its leader Arvind Sawant, who defeated Congress heavyweight Milind Deora from Mumbai, will be its nominee in the council of ministers.
The Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel is likely to be in the council of ministers.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s decision to opt out on health grounds has fuelled speculation about who will get his coveted portfolio. Railway Minister Goyal, who filled in for Jaitley and presented the populist pre-election budget, is being seen as a key contender. There is also speculation that BJP president Amit Shah may join the government.
The BJP has refrained from making any official comment about the likely members of the government, with its leaders asserting that it is the prime minister’s prerogative.
The swearing-in ceremony in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is expected to be grand affair with more than 6,000 guests, including leaders from the BIMSTEC countries, opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, chief ministers, corporate honchos and film stars set to be in attendance as President Ram Nath Kovind administers the oath of office and secrecy to 68-year-old Modi and his ministerial colleagues.