Sena, TDP may get more berths in Union Cabinet

Sunday to see Parrikar in new role

Sena, TDP may get more berths in Union Cabinet

With Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah conveying to Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to be prepared for a stint at the Centre, the Cabinet expansion now seems to be certain.

In all probability, the IITian will take over as defence minister from Arun Jaitley, who is holding additional charge of the ministry.

Parrikar, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah on Wednesday, all but talked of his shifting to the Centre “if the nation requires” his services.

“Amit Shah told me to accept any assignment given to me by the prime minister. The second part is the prerogative of the prime minister,” Parrikar said.

As per indications, about 10 ministers will be sworn-in around 1:30 pm on Sunday, two days before the prime minister leaves on a three-nation 10-day tour.

Names of other BJP leaders doing the rounds for ministerial berths include: Jayant Sinha, son of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, Anurag Thakur from Himachal Pradesh, Jat leader from Haryana Birender Singh, Bihar’s Giriraj Singh or Bhola Singh, Col Sonaram Chaudhary and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, both from Rajasthan, and Hansraj Ahir from Maharashtra. Modi also held discussions with National Democratic Alliance partners to accommodate them in his council of ministers.

Additional berth

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) may get an additional berth in the ministry following a meeting Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had with the prime minister.
Modi is understood to have left the decision to Naidu and has asked him to forward a name for the ministerial slot though the TDP was demanding a bigger slice.

One of the two TDP Rajya Sabha MPs, Y S Chaudhary or C M Ramesh, appear set to find a berth in Team Modi. “You will know details about the Cabinet expansion in two days,” said Naidu.

The Shiv Sena’s representation may also go up with the Prime Minister’s Office seeking two names from the party to be drafted into the government.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has been requested to get back with names by Friday since the government has to complete formalities before the oath taking exercise.

It is learnt that Modi is keen on getting Sena leader Suresh Prabhu, who was power minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, into his team. The Sena, however, expressed reservation about sending him to Rajya Sabha till 2016.

Asked if he would be inducted into the Cabinet, Prabhu, who was briefing journalists about the prime minister’s visit to Australia for the G-20 summit, said, “If you all agree, we can put this on the agenda of the G-20 summit.”

Prabhu is G-20 summit “sherpa” (pointsman) for Modi. On the other hand, Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai’s name is also doing the rounds.

Some ministers with independent charge could be elevated in the first recasting of the ministry Modi will be undertaking since he assumed power in May. 

 The ministers to be elevated to Cabinet rank may include Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javadekar. At the same time, senior leaders burdened with multiple ministries might be asked to shed off some portfolios for better focused output. The current strength of the Modi ministry is 45. Meanwhile in Goa, the BJP has started hunting for a successor to Parrikar.

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