Not surprisingly, the lion’s share of berths in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers went to States north of the Vindhyas, with a mere half-a-dozen to the four southern States. And, of the northern States, Uttar Pradesh that delivered 71 of the 336 seats that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won in the general elections, got the biggest chunk: eight Ministers, of whom four find a place in the Union Cabinet.
But what came as a surprise was that Rajasthan, which delivered all its 25 seats to the BJP, appeared not to be getting any representation at all when the first list was made public.
Indeed, the first sign of a rebellion in the BJP came with reports saying that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was meeting her 25 MPs to discuss the situation. Eventually, at the swearing-in ceremony, one LS MP, Nihal Chand Chouhan, was included as an afterthought, as an MoS.
UP’s four Cabinet Ministers will be Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharati, Kalraj Mishra and Maneka Gandhi; its four MoSs, General VK Singh, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Manoj Sinha and Sanjeev Baliyan.
Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, that put 27 seats in the BJP’s kitty, losing just two to the Congress, has been handsomely rewarded: the State will be represented by four Cabinet Ministers – Sushma Swaraj, Narendra Singh Tomar and Thawar Chand Gehlot (all Lok Sabha) and Najma Heptullah (from the Rajya Sabha).
The BJP-Lok Janshakti Party-Rashtriya Lok Samata Party alliance in Bihar won 23 of the 40 seats in the State: it will now have three Cabinet Ministers, Ravi Shankar Prasad (RS), Radha Mohan Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP). There is also one MoS from Bihar, Upendra Kushwaha from the RLSP.
Of the States that will go to the polls later this year, Mr. Modi has paid special attention to Maharashtra, where the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won 42 of the 48 seats. There are three Cabinet Ministers – Nitin Gadkari, Gopinath Munde and Anant Geete and three MoSs, Rao Saheb Danwe Patil (LS), Piyush Goel (RS) and Prakash Jawdekar, who will have to be brought in through the Rajya Sabha.
Shiv Sena openly criticised its share in the Union Council of Ministers, with senior party leader Manohar Joshi saying the party had expected three Ministers. Another ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) gets a berth in the Cabinet - Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The BJP won seven of the 10 seats in Haryana, another state that will go the polls later this year: two of the winners, Krishan Pal Gujjar and Rao Inderjit Singh (who crossed over from the Congress a few months before the elections) have been accommodated in the Cabinet as MoSs.
Another election-going State, Jammu and Kashmir, will be represented by one of the two BJP MPs elected from here: Jitendra Singh, who won the Udhampur seat is a MoS. Delhi, that may go the polls, also gets a Cabinet berth – Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
Gujarat will be represented by two Rajya Sabha MPs in the Union Cabinet - Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani and one LS MP, Mansukhbhai D.Vasava will be a MoS.