Amid talk of expansion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, the BJP’s ruling alliance partner in Bihar, the Janata Dal (United), said on Saturday that every constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) should be represented at the Centre.
Speaking to mediapersons in Patna, JD(U) national president R.C.P. Singh said: “I too have come to know about the Cabinet expansion of the Union government. Every constituent of the NDA should get participation in the Cabinet. And, being an ally, the JD(U) too should naturally get a berth in the Central Cabinet. In an alliance, every constituent should be respected.”
The buzz in political circles is that the Modi Cabinet would be expanded before the monsoon session of Parliament.
Earlier in May 2019, Chief Minister and then JD(U) president and Nitish Kumar had said his party would not be part of the NDA government as the BJP’s offer was only “ symbolic representation ”.
“They [the BJP] said they want to give one Cabinet rank to every ally. Then we said that we will discuss it with party members and then only we can say anything over this symbolic representation. I spoke to my party leaders and the unanimous view was that we should stay out of the ministry. Everybody felt there should be proportional representation in an alliance government,” Mr. Kumar had said after the oath-taking ceremony of the Union Cabinet of NDA-2. Mr. Singh, Mr. Kumar’s close confidant, had been among the frontrunners for a Cabinet berth at that time.
The Bihar Chief Minister was said to have insisted on “proportional representation” for his party in the Union Cabinet. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the JD(U) won 16 of the total 40 seats in Bihar, while the BJP got 17 seats. The JD(U) has also six members in the Rajya Sabha.
Now, after Mr. Singh’s comment, names of three JD(U) leaders have started floating as probables for the Union Cabinet. Besides, party president R.C.P. Singh, names of MPs Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh (Munger) and Santosh Kumar Kushwaha (Purnia) are also doing the rounds. However, NDA leaders declined to comment on the issue. “Only party’s top leadership can say anything on this,” they said.