Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United, an ally of BJP in Bihar on Tuesday raised an old demand. A top JDU leader said the party will not accept anything less than four slots in the cabinet, going by the number of MPs it has.
Speaking with the reporters in Patna on Tuesday evening, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said that JDU will accept whatever the BJP would offer them. However, the party sources on Wednesday told that 4 ministries are non-negotiable.
Kumar had said that the JD(U) national president RCP Singh was involved in discussion with the BJP on the number of Cabinet berths the party will get. He also said he was not aware of any kind of formula that has been agreed to on JD(U)’s inclusion in the Union Cabinet.
Nitish Kumar said if the party was offered only two ministries, it would impact social equations and political math in Bihar. The JDU says it has 16 MPs, so it should be given at least four ministries.
A top JDU leader said that the party wants to have four ministers. Amid rounding Speculation, the JDU state president Umesh Kushwaha has assured that JDU will join the cabinet.
Despite his comments, negotiations between the JDU national president RCP Singh and the BJP are underway in Delhi. And the names of JD(U) doing the rounds for a berth in union cabinet were RCP Singh and Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh.
Sources in Bihar said four ministers could be inducted from Bihar — two are from JD (U), one from LJP faction led by Pashupati Paras, and one from the BJP. According to reports, three leaders of Bihar- former Deputy CM Sushil Modi, LJP MP Pashupati Kumar Paras and JDU’s RCP Singh could get a ministerial berth in PM Modi cabinet.
In 2019, the JD(U) had refused to join union cabinet, demanding proportional representation. On his stand, he said what happened at that time is over and he was the party president at that time, that has ended now. Dropping cleat hints of JD(U) joining the union cabinet this time, Kumar said it is nothing special in today’s context.
Bihar has 40 Lok Sabha seats, of which BJP won 17, JD(U) 16, LJP six and Congress one in the 2019 parliamentary polls.
Currently, the Republican Party leader Ramdas Athawale, a junior minister, is the only ally in the government after parties like the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal severed ties with the BJP.
However, all eyes are on how many people would get a ministerial berth from Nitish Kumar’s JDU in PM Modi cabinet expansion which is scheduled to announced on Wednesday evening.
The current strength of the Council of Ministers is 53, besides Modi, and its maximum number can be 81.