Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda and others in New Delhi on Monday to discuss his party’s inclusion in the Union Cabinet.
The talks will be taking place amidst rising speculations about the expansion of Union cabinet and Janata Dal (United) or JD(U)’s long-awaited representation in it. Other important issues, like Bihar’s continued battle with Covid-19 pandemic and floods, are also likely to be discussed.
Nitish Kumar is likely to arrive in Delhi tomorrow while the Bihar BJP ally Janata Dal United is denying any meeting of Kumar with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi but speculation suggests more at a time a cabinet expansion is in the works.
This will be the second meeting of Kumar with the PM Modi since assuming power last year. Last time, Kumar had met the PM was in February this year, when he had backed the farm laws describing them in the interest of farmers in the face of protests by farmers’ bodies in Bihar.
The JDU stayed out of the Cabinet in 2019 when PM Modi began his second term, over a disagreement between Nitish Kumar and the BJP on the number of ministries; the Chief Minister had insisted on two ministries, the BJP was willing to concede only one.
Recently, JDU leader RCP Singh had said that the party should be given its due representation in the cabinet as an important ally of the BJP. He had said that the party should get respectable representation in the union cabinet and that the party should be consulted in this regard. he also said the JD-U is part of the NDA and the allies should get respect in a coalition.
The JDU has 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
It is also reported that the role in the split in Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is linked to the promise of a cabinet post and there were also reports that the LJP’s political family drama was a plan to sideline Chirag and promote his uncle.
For many, the surprise announcement by Chirag Paswan’s uncle Pashupati Paras, who led a coup in the LJP and established himself as LJP new chief and set to join the union government soon, was proof of the role played by Nitish Kumar and the BJP in the LJP split.