Modi to keep key ministers in new cabinet, drop a few laggards
30 May 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take oath as prime minister for a second straight term in the evening today at a gala function at the Rashtrapai Bhavan attended by 8,000 invitees, including heads of states of neighbouring nations, leaders of various political parties and people of eminence.
BJP president Amit Shah has made calls to various leaders who will be ministers in the new government. They have been invited to the PM's home at 5 pm, before the swearing-in.
Sources say some of the MPs who have received the all-important phone call include party stalwarts Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Sadananda Gowda, Arjun Meghwal, Kiren Rijiju, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar, Ramdas Athavale, Jitender Singh, Suresh Angadi, Babul Supriyo, Kailash Chowdhury, Prahlad Joshi and G Kishan Reddy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held several meetings with party president Amit Shah during the past 24 hours amidst talks of Amit Shah joining the new cabinet. Speculation is that Shah will fill the vacuum created by Arun Jaitley as the new finance minister.
Amit Shah, who has led the party since 2014 and is credited with its spectacular run in elections, has been the PM Modi's confidant for over two decades. He is credited with managing the party's successful poll campaign.
Smriti Irani, the "kingslayer" after she defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his family borough Amethi, is expected to be rewarded with a major portfolio.
However, with Arun Jaitley, who was finance minister in the erstwhile cabinet, and also one of the most articulate spokesmen of the BJP-led government in parliament and outside, has opted out of the new cabinet citing ill health.
Jailtly, a diabetic and one who went through a kidney operation, wrote in his letter to the prime minister: "I am writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health and therefore, not be a part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government."
Speculation is that the portfolio may now go to Piyush Goyal who handled the ministry in the absence of Jaitley and even presented the last budget,
Key ally Shiv Sena has named Arvind Sawant as its nominee. BJP is reported to have decided to have at least one minister from each ally, according to Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance returned to power with a massive haul of 352 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP won 303 seats on its own.
The swearing-in ceremony will take place at 7 pm in the presence of nearly 8,000 guests including leaders of BIMSTEC countries, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, will also be present at the oath ceremony, apart from several chief ministers.