Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle, a section of Nitish Kumar’s party raised an old demand. A top Janata Dal United leader said in the morning the party will not accept anything less than four slots in the cabinet, going by the number of MPs it has. However, senior JDU leader RCP Singh’s arrival at PM Modi’s house soon after contradicted that.
Mr Singh is likely to join the cabinet.
Last evening, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said the JDU would join the government and accept whatever it was offered. However, one leader suggested that four ministries is non-negotiable.
“If the JDU gets proportional representation in the Modi cabinet, only then will we join the government,” said the JDU leader.
The leader said if the party was offered only two ministries, it would impact social equations and political math in Bihar.
The JDU says it has 16 MPs, so it should be given at least four ministries.
Nitish Kumar had first signaled what was seen as a major climb-down since he refused to join the Modi government in 2019 after being offered fewer ministries than he expected. At the time, the JDU had been adamant on a more equitable share based on the principle of proportional representation, but the BJP was willing to offer only “token representation” to its allies.
“I’m not aware of any formula… Whatever the respected Prime Minister decides we will accept,” Mr Kumar said, indicating that he was willing to join the government on the BJP’s terms. Many linked his change of stance to the November Bihar election, in which his party finished third, winning far less than the BJP and emerging as the junior partner in the alliance.
On his 2019 stand, the Chief Minister said: “Jo hua so hua (what happened has happened)… at that time I was the (party) president, that has ended now… In today’s context it is nothing special”.
News Source: NDTV News