Two days ahead of oath ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah held a five-hour meeting on Tuesday.
According to sources, both the leaders were there to finalize the members of the Union Cabinet, who will also sworn-in on Thursday, May 30 with the PM.
After achieving the massive victory, there have been talks whether Mr. Shah would join the Cabinet or not. It is believed that Shah may join the government as he played a crucial role in the BJP’s return to power with a sweeping majority. Although, Shah himself has always evaded an answer to this, saying that he is not in the know of the matter.
Ahead of crucial Assembly Elections in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Haryana, a section in the BJP wants him to remain as Party Chief. It is considered that the victory in these states will take the BJP past the halfway mark by the year 2020. Sources indicated that the party needs full attention now as assembly polls in a string of states like Delhi and Bihar will be held next year.
It has been reported that around 66 new ministers may sworn-in on May 30. The list may include some new faces and states like Telangana, West Bengal, and Odisha, in which the party has done well, and are believed to have a great number in the council of ministers.
It is also indicated by the sources that key members from the previous Cabinet like Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, and Piyush Goyal are expected to be retained in the new government. Another shocking report came up that a few previous ministers may be dropped this time because of their low performance earlier.
According to some sources, in the key ministries of finance, home, defense, and external affairs, there might be some changes. It has been reported that there is much discussion around the finance ministry. There are speculations that Arun Jaitley is unlikely to return as Finance Minister is unwell. However, a few days ago, there was a meeting held between Mr. Jaitley and finance ministry officials.
Apart from that, no major change is likely in the line-up, sources indicated. Small changes are likely to ensure representation of Bengal, Odisha and the northeast – new zones that have embraced the party but most ministers may stay.
Moreover, party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan will remain its face in the government, the BJP’s Bihar ally Lok Janshakti Party already passed a resolution. Earlier, Mr. Paswan had said that he would like to see his son, Chirag Paswan, as a member of the cabinet. In an interview with NDTV, Chirag Paswan said that his father could represent LJP in the cabinet.
On Thursday evening, the oath ceremony will take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. It will be attended by leaders from BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations. The list includes Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and also Bhutan and Nepal.
According to the foreign ministry, all nations have confirmed their attendance.
Key opposition leaders like Chief Minister of the Delhi Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are also likely to attend the ceremony. Chandrashekar Rao, Telangana Chief Minister K, would also be present on occasion.