NDA 3.0 begins on sore note as NCP skips oath ceremony

Modi Cabinet Oath ceremony

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BJP offers NCP MoS berth while HAM gets Cabinet rank in Modi Cabinet

By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 9: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction headed by Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar skipped the oath ceremony of the council of ministers headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In contrast, Jitan Ram Manjhi of Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM) is joining the NDA government. The HAM and the NCP of Ajit Pawar won one Lok Sabha seat each in Bihar and Maharashtra respectively.

Former Union Minister Praful Patel of the NCP told reporters that his party was offered a berth of Union Minister of State with independent charge by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Yesterday, the BJP offered us one position in the council of ministers. But I had in the past been a Cabinet minister. So, it would have been a demotion for me to have joined the NDA government in the MoS rank,” said Patel.

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He also said that the BJP has assured to “rectify” the issue in a few days. Incidentally, the NCP leadership is learnt to be livid at the BJP for offering MoS berth in the NDA government at the Centre.

Maharashtra-based political observers are stating that the Lok Sabha verdict has put the NCP in a piquant situation. The BJP’s another ally in the state, the Shiv Sena of the chief minister Eknath Shinde, won eight Lok Sabha seats. The NCP could win just one Lok Sabha seat.

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“There is a massive pressure in Ajit Pawar to return back to his uncle Sharad Pawar. The NCP workers have rejected the alliance of the party with the BJP in Maharashtra,” said a source in the NCP.

Patel was a minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre. He had held the portfolio of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Ironically, Manjhi is joining the NDA government as a Cabinet Minister. His party won just one Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.

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Manjhi won the Gaya parliamentary seat with over four lakh votes.

The NCP is reportedly angry that the party with one MP is being treated differently by the BJP. While the NCP was offered MoS berth, the HAM was given the Cabinet rank.

Manjhi had briefly been the chief minister of Bihar. He is a Mahadalit leader, and a close ally of the BJP in Bihar.

Maharashtra Assembly elections will be held in October this year. Jharkhand and Haryana will also go to the polls later this year.

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