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Hectic parleys on as BJP deliberates on cabinet formation

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 - 8:09am IST | Agency: IANS

Hectic meetings went on in the BJP camp Monday, as prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi held talks with party leaders over his cabinet formation.

Aspirants of ministerial posts and newly-elected Lok Sabha members of the party met BJP president Rajnath Singh and RSS leaders. Modi held discussions with his close aide and BJP general secretary Amit Shah and senior party leader Arun Jaitley, and met some other leaders from the party, as BJP leaders were also seen making a beeline to the RSS office, the Keshav Kunj, here.

While both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said the party ideological fountainhead will have no role in deciding the cabinet, several BJP leaders held deliberations at the Delhi RSS headquarters. They included Shah and Jaitley.

A minimum of 12 and maximum 20 ministers are expected to swear-in with Modi. A series of meetings also took place at Rajnath Singh's residence where Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, Gopinath Munde, Yogi Adityanath, Varun Gandhi and several newly-elected MPs called on him. 

Columnist and author Arun Shourie, who was disinvestment minister in the last BJP-led NDA government, also met Rajnath Singh. Sources from the party said Shourie's name has emerged for the post of finance minister, even as Jaitley's name was also making rounds for that post. While Sushma Swaraj's name was initially making rounds for the external affairs ministry, sources from the party say there are talks of giving her some other ministry.

Rajnath Singh, who initially insisted he would stick to his post, is interested in the home ministry portfolio. Sources from the party say he will get one of the four key ministries - home, finance, external affairs and defence - either now or some time later.

Nitin Gadkari is another BJP leader certain to find a place in Modi's cabinet. He is keen on getting the urban development ministry. 

While Delhi leader Harsh Vardhan is set to get the health ministry, Sumitra Mahajan may get rural development.  Alliance partner from LJP Ram Vilas Paswan, whose party got six seats in Bihar, is likely to be in the list, and has pitched for civil aviation ministry. Railways, which has been held by allies in last several governments, will stay with BJP. 

Meanwhile, former home secretary RK Singh, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Udit Raj, Manoj Tiwari and party leader Vinay Katiyar were seen at the RSS office where they met senior functionaries. The BJP won the Lok Sabha elections with a thumping majority, getting 282 seats. Modi will be formally elected the leader of the BJP parliamentary party Tuesday, after which he would meet President Pranab Mukherjee to stake claim to form the government.

The new cabinet is expected to be sworn-in by the end of this week—May 24 or 25. BJP has given a long list of 2,500-3,000 guests and requesting to hold the swearing in of Modi in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan.


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