The Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal United chief Nitish Kumar, who had declined the BJP’s offer to join the Union cabinet soon after forming the second NDA government under Narendra Modi in 2019, has maintained suspense as his party anticipates ministerial berth in PM Modi’s cabinet.
As per the reports it is now a foregone conclusion that Bihar’s ruling JD(U) will join the Union cabinet whenever its expansion is carried out following the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The buzz is that the JD(U), which has 16 MPs, will get berths this time keeping the political equation in the mind for next the 2024 parliamentary elections.
As of now, there is no discussion or offer.
This comes amid Bihar Chief Minister and party chief Nitish Kumar’s visit to Delhi on Tuesday and speculation on a Union Cabinet reshuffle.
Earlier on Monday, the Janata Dal (United) had dismissed reports linking Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Delhi visit with the party’s inclusion in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
The JD(U) national president RCP Singh said his party and the BJP are sharing power in Bihar and there could be no surprise if JD(U) joins the Union cabinet sooner or later. Singh, however, emphasised that Nitish’s scheduled Delhi visit is for personal reasons and that no political reason should be attached to it.
The JD (U) MP from Bihar’s Munger and the Parliamentary Party leader Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh, said these are all speculations and he is going to Delhi for his eye treatment.
Sources told whenever the cabinet is expanded, one to two ministers would be from the JD(U) quota this time-mostly likely RCP Singh and Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh- both are MPs of JDU and considered closest to CM Nitish Kumar.
But Singh and Ranjan Singh has separately told that it is the prerogative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to decide the time of the cabinet expansion. Both are close to Nitish Kumar and as two of the senior most leaders in the JDU, are strong contenders for a place in PM Modi’s cabinet.
This will be Kumar’s second meeting with PM Modi since assuming power last year. Earlier in February this year, Kumar had met the PM Modi to discuss the Covid-19 situation in Bihar besides other issues concerning the state.
Nitish Kumar had rejected the BJP’s offer of a single cabinet berth after assuming power for the second term in 2019. Two or nothing, he had insisted, arguing on the basis of proportional representation to allies. However, Kumar decided to stay out of the central government altogether.
The BJP is now keen on keeping its few allies happy, especially after losing West Bengal.