Before BJP's 'Young' Cabinet Surprise, NDA MPs Gear Up to Formally Elect Narendra Modi as Leader Today
A senior party leader said that a number of young faces are likely to be inducted into the council of ministers as the BJP leadership has been working to groom a second line of leadership.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted by JDU President Nitish Kumar and other NDA leaders before his nomination filing ahead of the 2019 general elections at collector's office in Varanasi. (File photo: PTI)
New Delhi: Newly elected MPs of the BJP-led NDA will meet on Saturday evening to formally elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi as their leader, setting in motion the process of government formation.
The BJP said the meeting will take place in Parliament's Central Hall at 5 pm. Prior to this, BJP MPs will meet separately at Parliament House. Modi is expected to address the MPs following his election as their leader.
With Modi already being announced as the prime ministerial candidate of the alliance, the meeting is being considered a mere formality.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has got more than 350 members in Lok Sabha, including 303 of the BJP. Before oath-taking by new members on May 30, the prime minister will visit Gujarat and Varanasi to seek blessings from his mother and people of his constituency.
With finance minister Arun Jaitley and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj suffering with health issues, there are talks whether they will be part of the new cabinet or not. Jaitley, a Rajya Sabha member, had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Amritsar in 2014, while Swaraj, who had won from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, opted out from the electoral battle this time on health grounds.
The two leaders have not commented on whether they would like to join the government or not. In the run-up to the election results, Amit Shah had also sidestepped queries on him joining the government, saying it is the prerogative of the BJP and the prime minister.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to continue with a key role in the new government. With Smriti Irani handing a shock defeat to Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, it is expected that the party may reward her with an important responsibility.
A number of senior leaders from the outgoing cabinet, including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Narendra Singh Tomar and Prakash Javadekar, are set to figure in the new cabinet.
Among allies, the Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal (United) are likely to be given cabinet berths as both the parties have done exceedingly well, winning 18 and 16 seats in Maharashtra and Bihar, respectively.
The BJP will reward new faces from West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana, states where it has made significant inroads. "A number of young faces are likely to be inducted into the council of ministers as the BJP leadership has been working to groom a second line of leadership," said a senior party leader.
(With inputs from PTI)
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