The lion’s share of berths in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers went to the northern States. Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for 71 of the 336 seats that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance won, got the biggest chunk of eight Ministers, of whom four find a place in the Cabinet. The southern States managed to bag a mere six slots.
But what came as a surprise was that Rajasthan, which delivered all its 25 Lok Sabha seats to the BJP, managed to get just one MP, Nihal Chand Chouhan, in the Ministry — he was given the Minister of State rank, almost as an afterthought. Reports have it that the appointment came only after Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje held a meeting with the MPs from the State an hour before the swearing-in. Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, from where the BJP won all the seats, too, didn’t get representation in the Union Council of Ministers.
Uttar Pradesh’s four Cabinet Ministers will be Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti, Kalraj Mishra and Maneka Gandhi. The four Ministers of State are General V.K. Singh, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Manoj Sinha and Sanjeev Baliyan.
Madhya Pradesh, which won 27 seats for the BJP, losing just two seats in the State to the Congress, has also been handsomely rewarded. The State will be represented by four Cabinet Ministers — Sushma Swaraj, Narendra Singh Tomar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Najma Heptullah (who is from the Rajya Sabha).
The alliance of the BJP, the Lok Jan Shakti Party and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party in Bihar, which won 23 of the 40 seats in the State, will have three Cabinet Ministers: Ravi Shankar Prasad (Rajya Sabha), Radha Mohan Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP). The Samata’s Upendra Kushwaha managed to bag a Minister of State post.
Mr. Paswan, the most prominent Dalit face in the Union Cabinet, who had been hoping to get a key portfolio may have settle for something less. The LJP leader has been a member of at least four Union governments in the past — those led by V.P. Singh, H.D. Deve Gowda, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.Maharashtra gets six
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. The State has got three Cabinet Ministers — Nitin Gadkari, Gopinath Munde and Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) and as many Ministers of State — Rao Saheb Danwe Patil, Piyush Goel (Rajya Sabha) and Prakash Javadekar, who will have to be brought in through the Rajya Sabha.
Shiv Sena, which won 18 of the 42 seats, openly criticised its share in the Ministry, with senior party leader Manohar Joshi saying that the party had expected three Ministers. Another ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), managed to get a Cabinet berth for Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
In Haryana, another State that will go to polls later this year, Krishan Pal Gujjar and Rao Inderjit Singh have been accommodated as Ministers of State. The BJP won seven of the 10 seats in the State.
Another poll-bound State, Jammu and Kashmir, will be represented by Jitendra Singh as a Minister of State. He had bagged the Udhampur seat. With an eye on Delhi, which may go to the polls soon, the BJP gave Harsh Vardhan a Cabinet slot.
Mr. Modi’s home State Gujarat will be represented by key strategist Arun Jaitley and actor Smriti Irani, both Rajya Sabha members from the State. Mansukhbhai D. Vasava will be the lone Lok Sabha member from the State with a Minister of State rank.