The oath ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday evening will be attended by leaders from BIMSTEC nations. (IANS file photo)
Day before the grand swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah reportedly discussed the final names of the new cabinet in a five-hour-long meeting in New Delhi. According to an NDTV report, the meeting comes amid strong buzz that Shah is likely to join the government at the Centre. However, the BJP has not issued any clarification on the topic. It is said that the top leadership of the BJP is of view that the saffron party minus Shah won’t be that strong. Shah’s organisational skills are well-known. From mobilising the grassroot workers to strategising on national front, Shah has transformed the BJP.
There were also rumours that Arun Jaitley may not get place in the Union Cabinet due to his poor health. The rumours were so strong that the government had to issue a statement. Government spokesperson Sitanshu Kar took to Twitter to clear the air. "Reports in a section of media regarding Union Minister Shri Arun Jaitley's health condition are false and baseless. Media is advised to stay clear of rumour mongering," he had tweeted on May 26.
The NDTV report said that there may not be much change in the line-up. Leaders of all BIMSTEC countries on Tuesday confirmed their participation for the May 30 event, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Besides India, BIMSTEC comprises Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.
Those international politicians include Special envoy of Thailand Grisada Boonrach, Myanmar Prez U Win Myint, Kyrgyz President Jeenbekov, Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, Sri Lanka President Sirisena and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
In 2014, Modi had invited all SAARC leaders including the then Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony, in a major initiative to reach out to the neighbouring countries. However, invitation to BIMSTEC leaders for the event on Thursday is seen as an attempt to send a signal to Pakistan that India is not willing to engage with it.