New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a final round of consultations with BJP president Amit Shah and is learnt to have given shape to his council of ministers ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of his new government in the evening.
The list of union ministers is likely to be sent to the Rashtrapati Bhavan soon, sources said. Capping a landslide election victory, Modi will take oath along with a new council of ministers for a second term at 7 pm. Modi and Shah have held several rounds of discussions in the last two days ahead of government formation.
Sources said Modi government 2.0 is likely to have representation from most allies and showcase the party’s newfound strength in different regions. BJP allies like Shiv Sena, JD(U), AIADMK, LJP, Akali Dal and Apna Dal are set to be represented in the government. Each NDA ally is likely to get one cabinet berth, sources said.
The Shiv Sena has confirmed its leader Arvind Sawant, who defeated Congress heavyweight Milind Deora from Mumbai, will be its nominee in the council of ministers. The Lok Janshakti Party has already passed a resolution recommending its president Ram Vilas Paswan as the party’s representative in the Modi government.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s decision to opt out on health grounds has fuelled speculation about who will get his coveted portfolio. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who filled in for Jaitley and presented the populist pre-election budget, is being seen as a key contender. There is also a buzz about Shah, who has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and is a key architect of the BJP’s thumping victory of 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, joining the government.
If Shah joins the Modi cabinet, he is likely to get one of the four major portfolios; Finance, Home, Defence or External Affairs. The BJP has refrained from making any official comment about the likely members of the government, with its leaders asserting that it is the prime minister’s prerogative.
Senior party leaders like Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Smriti Irani are likely to join the second Modi government after being its members in its first avatar. Irani defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his family bastion Amethi.
The swearing-in ceremony in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is expected to be grand affair with about 8,000 guests, including leaders from the BIMSTEC countries, opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, chief ministers, corporate honchos and film stars, watching as President Ram Nath Kovind administers the oath of office and secrecy to 68-year-old Modi and his ministerial colleagues.