Modi cabinet rejig today; Shiv Sena bargains hard

Modi cabinet rejig today; Shiv Sena bargains hard

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday may not be all that smooth, with ally Shiv Sena making last-minute hard bargaining on its joining  the Maharashtra government led by the BJP.

The Sena wants to know the BJP stand on its demands before its two nominees take oath on Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi.

An evening meeting between Shiv Sena leader and Union minister Anant Geete and Modi here on Saturday could not be held as the BJP was yet to decide on the Sena’s terms, including that the Maharashtra party should be a part of the Devendra Fadnavis government before the floor test on Wednesday.

“I could not meet him (PM),” Geete told reporters.  The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had offered two more slots in the Cabinet to the Sena.

Geete left for Mumbai on Saturday evening to convey to his supremo Uddhav Thackeray the outcome of meetings he had with BJP leaders to break the impasse in Maharashtra.

However, the Modi government’s talks with another ally the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to fill a Cabinet slot were smooth. TDP supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who wanted his quota at the Centre to go up to three, told a news channel that he had recommended Rajya Sabha member Y S Chaudhary’s name.

Earlier, the BJP’s highest-decision-making-body, parliamentary board, in its meeting on Saturday, in the absence of Modi, cleared Manohar Parrikar’s appointment as central minister.

After the meeting, party general secretary J P Nadda told reporters that the parliamentary board held discussions on Goa Legislative Party’s leader and nominations for Rajya Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Party sources said Parrikar would be brought to the Rajya Sabha, most likely, from Uttar Pradesh, as he has to be a member of either of the two Houses of Parliament within six months of his becoming a Central minister.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan at 1 pm on Sunday.

Leaders who have got calls from the PMO for having tea with Modi are sure to become ministers. About 15 of them are likely to join the government. Prominent among them from the BJP are, besides Parrikar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Vijay Sampla (Punjab),  Mohan Kundariya (Gujarat),  Sanwarlal Jat (Rajasthan), Giriraj Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav (both from Bihar), Hansraj Ahir (Maharashtra), Ramesh Bais (Chhattisgarh) and Bandaru Dattatreya (Telangana).

Other names doing the rounds are  Jayant SInha (son of former finance minister Yashwant Sinha), Babul Supriyo, Sadhvi Niranjana Jyoti, Mahesh Sharma,  Rajiv Pratap Rudy,  Birender Singh and Sonaram Chaudhary.

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