According to BJP sources, its largest alliance partner Shiv Sena’s representation is likely to be increased.
A short Cabinet reshuffle is likely to take place before the monsoon session of Parliament, which is beginning next month. It will be aimed at placating the sulking National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
According to BJP sources, while the Janata Dal United is likely to be given representation in the Union Cabinet, largest alliance partner Shiv Sena’s representation is likely to be increased.
“There is a perception that all is not well within the NDA. Alliance leaders have of late become critical of the BJP. The BJP feels that giving proper representation to the allies will help put the NDA house in order. It will help the NDA show its strength and unity before the monsoon session of Parliament,” said the source.
Shiv Sena has 18 members in the Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha. The Shiv Sena is also supporting the BJP-led government in Maharashtra. At present, there is one Cabinet minister — Anant Geete — at the Centre, while there is one vacancy under its quota.
The Shiv Sena, sources said, has made it clear that it will accept only a Cabinet minister and not a Minister of State.
Of late, the Shiv Sena has become critical of the NDA government, which prompted BJP president Amit Shah to visit Mumbai to meet its chief Uddhav Thackeray.
The BJP plans to include one more minister in the Cabinet in order to make truce with the sulking alliance partner.
Similar is the case with JDU whose leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is said to be unhappy with the BJP. The JDU joined the NDA fold after deserting the mahagathbandhan or the grand alliance in Bihar, but so far it has not been given representation in the Cabinet. It is being speculated that the JDU may get one Cabinet minister and one Minister of State.
After the JDU joined the NDA in August last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out a Cabinet expansion, but the JDU was not included.
It is speculated that the former bureaucrat and right hand of Nitish Kumar, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh may join the Cabinet from the JDU quota.
The BJP has been under pressure ever since the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) deserted the NDA. In March, two TDP ministers, Ashok Gajapati Raju and Y.S. Chowdhary resigned from the Cabinet.
However, BJP leaders claim that everything is fine within the NDA and that the loss of TDP has been compensated by the entry of JDU.