Day After BJP’s Election Victory, All Eyes Now On Narendra Modi’s New Cabinet
As the Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power with a spectacular performance in 2019 Lok Sabha elections for a second term, all eyes are now on government formation, amid speculation that several new faces—including BJP president Amit Shah—may be brought into the new Narendra Modi cabinet.
Many party leaders are of the view that Shah will join the Modi cabinet and be given one of the four key ministries—either home, finance, external affairs or defence—after the government formation.
With finance minister Arun Jaitley and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj suffering with health issues, there are talks whether they will be part of the new cabinet or not.
Jaitley, a Rajya Sabha member, had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Amritsar in 2014, while Swaraj, who had won from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, opted out from the electoral battle this time on health grounds. The two leaders have not commented on whether they would like to join the government or not.
In the run-up to the election results, Amit Shah had also sidestepped queries on him joining the government, saying it is the prerogative of the BJP and the prime minister.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to continue with a key role in the new government.
With Smriti Irani handing a shock defeat to Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, it is expected that the party may reward her with an important responsibility.
A number of senior leaders from the outgoing cabinet, including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Narendra Singh Tomar and Prakash Javadekar, are set to figure in the new cabinet.
Among allies, the Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal (United) are likely to be given cabinet berths as both the parties have done exceedingly well, winning 18 and 16 seats in Maharashtra and Bihar, respectively. The BJP will reward new faces from West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana, states where it has made significant inroads.
"A number of young faces are likely to be inducted into the council of ministers as the BJP leadership has been working to groom a second line of leadership," said a senior party leader.
The Modi-led BJP won 302 seats and was leading in another seat in the elections for 542 Lok Sabha constituencies, election results showed.
Officials said the Union Cabinet, in its meeting on Friday evening, adopted a resolution recommending the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, which will pave way for formal launch of the process to form a new government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet President Ram Nath Kovind to hand over the cabinet resolution recommending dissolution of the Lok sabha.
He will also hand over the resignation of union council of ministers to the president.
The 17th Lok Sabha has to be constituted before June 3 and the process to form a new House will be initiated when the three election commissioners meet the president in the next few days to hand over the list of newly-elected members.
All the newly-elected BJP Members of Parliament are expected to meet on Saturday to elect Modi as their leader, following which he will meet the president to stake claim to form the new government, people in the party said, requesting anonymity.