Modi 3.0 Cabinet: BJP draws red line as allies aim for big portfolios

The BJP reportedly asserted control over crucial portfolios like Defence, Finance, Home, and Foreign Affairs as the deliberations for the distribution of Union Cabinet portfolios are reportedly underway in NDA.
Modi 3.0 Cabinet: BJP draws red line as allies aim for big portfolios
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Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) have emerged as key players in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and have sought important positions in the Union Cabinet. However, the BJP may not easily concede some prominent positions to its allies and has reportedly asserted its stake over key portfolios--Defence, Finance, Home, and Foreign Affairs.

According to sources, the TDP and JDU, holding 16 and 12 seats respectively, are eyeing their preferred ministries. Based on initial discussions, the allies are demanding one minister for every four MPs. Reportedly, the TDP is seeking four cabinet berths, while the JDU is pushing for three ministers. Additionally, Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena, with 7 seats, and Chirag Paswan’s LJP, with five seats, each expect two ministries.

Chandrababu Naidu is also eyeing the position of Lok Sabha Speaker, but the BJP appears unwilling to accept this demand. TDP may also demand the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

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Modi 3.0 Cabinet: BJP draws red line as allies aim for big portfolios

With the BJP securing 240 seats, 32 short of the halfway mark, the role of these allies is crucial for Modi 3.0. Together, the TDP, JDU, Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde), and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) command 40 MPs.

In the previous two ministries under PM Modi, where the BJP single-handedly crossed the majority mark, the NDA allies could not hold the key Cabinet positions. However, the 2024 results project a hung assembly without a clear majority for the BJP, indicating that the saffron party will likely have to form a Union Ministry based on proportionality. This would result in a Council of Ministers where the number of BJP ministers decreases and ministers from allies increase. However, it is unlikely that the BJP will compromise on the core ministries.

Apart from Defence, Finance, Home and Foreign Affairs, the BJP will also want to keep the ministries that deal with infrastructure development, welfare, youth affairs and agriculture with itself. These portfolios are important for implementing the schemes for the four significant voter groups -- the poor, women, youth and farmers.

Additionally, the BJP claims to have undertaken major reforms in the Railways and road transport, etc., under the previous NDA governments, and the party does not want to slow down the pace of reforms by giving them to allies. The Railways traditionally remained with allies, and the BJP brought it back to their domain with much effort, sources noted.

The BJP can consider giving the Panchayati Raj and Rural Development ministries to JDU, while portfolios like Civil Aviation and Steel can be given to TDP. The charge of Heavy Industries can be given to Shiv Sena. NDA allies can be appointed as Ministers of State in important ministries like Finance and Defence, sources close to the discussions said.

There is also a possibility of other ministries, such as tourism, MSME, skill development, science and technology, earth sciences, and social justice and empowerment, being handed over to the allies.

If Chandrababu Naidu continues to insist on the Lok Sabha Speaker post, the BJP may try to convince him by offering the Deputy Speaker position.

Source: India Today

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