NDA 3.0 govt birth pangs keep Modi waiting for ministers

PM Modi addresses ministers to take oath

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NDA 3.0 govt faces first test of portfolio allocation with belligerent NDA allies

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, June 10: After euphoria of an assertive Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) taking charge of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 3.0 government settled down, the reality appears to have struck the saffron outfit. The Cabinet Secretariat failed to release the portfolios of the ministers even after an almost twenty hours since the oath ceremony yesterday elapsed.

The government spokespersons were tight lipped about the reasons for the delay in the portfolios of the ministers. The delay led to a harvest of speculations all through the day.

It was stated in official quarters that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would preside over the first meeting of the Cabinet at 5 PM on Monday. The Cabinet meeting took place without the ministers knowing their portfolios.

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The first sign of dissent within the BJP camp emerged with the Lok Sabha MP from Thrissur in Kerala Suresh Gopi giving out conflicting signals. Later, he clarified that he would indeed take charge of the responsibility as the Minister of State. He had taken oath of office yesterday.

Sources said that the delay in the allocation of portfolios was caused because of disagreements with the NDA allies. The NDA constituents agreed to join the government on terms of engagement prevalent since 2019.

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But the NDA allies are reportedly insisting on their choices of ministries. “The BJP cannot dictate terms with the allies. The Lok Sabha mandate clearly calls for accommodation of the allies,” said a senior leader of an NDA constituent.

The BJP leaders claimed that the party MPs would stick with most of the important ministries. The Janata Dal (United) is keen on the Ministry of Railways.

Besides, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has been attributed by reports in a section of media for insisting on the post of the Lok Sabha Speaker. The BJP wants to retain the post of the Lok Sabha Speaker.

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There are also murmurs of discontent among the NDA allies on the manner in which the representations have been given in the council of ministers headed by Modi.

The JD (U) and the BJP won 12 Lok Sabha seats each from Bihar. But the BJP’s Bihar MPs grabbed four berths in the council of ministers against just two of the JD (U).

Also, the Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM) has just one MP Jitan Ram Manjhi who became a Cabinet Minister. In contrast, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) also has just one Lok Sabha MP, but it was offered one berth of the Minister of State.

The Shiv Sena headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is also livid for not being given even one Cabinet berth in the council of ministers. The Shinde Shiv Sena won eight Lok Sabha seats. The party leaders are furious that HAM with one MP got a Cabinet berth while it was given MoS position.

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