Patna: The Janata Dal (United), which came back in the NDA fold only last month, has said that the option of joining the Modi cabinet was on the cards but the AIADMK crisis and the reported stand taken by Shiv Sena, prevented that from happening.
A top leader of the JD (U), considered close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, claimed there was absolutely no differences with the BJP or within the party over joining the Union Cabinet.
"Nitish Kumar was open to considering the proposal of joining the Cabinet, but he himself said that there was no consensus within other the constituents of the NDA till last minute. Shiv Sena was perhaps demanding more share in the government and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu was also far from stable. These are the reasons why the PM and Amit Shah chose to limit the reshuffle within BJP," the JD (U) leader explained.
However, he claimed that a short expansion of the Cabinet was likely, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's return from China.
Yet, the opposition did not refrain from using it as a weapon to attack the BJP. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav claimed that Nitish and his team have been shown the mirror by Amit Shah.
"These people (JDU) were desperate for getting an invitation. In fact, they even announced the names of probable ministers from their party. But BJP is now playing their game and Nitish will soon realize it," Lalu said on Sunday, after the swearing ceremony got over.
Names of JD (U) MPs RCP Sinha and Ramnath Thakur propped up as probable ministers but it was clearer by Saturday evening that the party was not joining the Modi government.
"Only a few days after Amit Shah made the request, did our party join the NDA. This amply clarifies that we would join the Union Cabinet, if invited. I am expecting the expansion will happen soon, which will be only for the allies," he claimed.
Senior BJP leader and Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey added that JD (U) was NDA's natural allies and rubbished reports of differences over portfolio allocation.
"Union Cabinet is a matter of the central leadership but I can tell you for sure that there are no differences with the JD (U) over it in the state," he said.