New Delhi: After reports of a rift within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over Cabinet berths allotted in Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, the party is now facing an open criticism. BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha showed his discontent over the cut-off age of 75 years set by Modi for his Cabinet ministers.
"I don't agree with this age of 75 being a cut-off age. Experience and ability can go together. There are senior leaders in the party who are sharper than the ones who are aged 45. Due to some reasons they have not got the post which they deserved," Sinha said.
He applauded senior party leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi for their contribution to the party and said that they are capable of holding any post. "Both LK Advani and MM Joshi are very intelligent and extremely capable of being on any post. Whether or not Advani should be the Speaker should depend on his choice. Not just the Speaker's position, he is eligible for all posts in the Cabinet," Sinha said.
However, he stopped short of questioning the decision of allotting the posts to the leaders. "As a worker and member of the party, I will not question the collective decision made by the Parliamentary Board of the party," he said.
Modi is likely to expand his Cabinet after June 15 and is likely to take 25 more ministers on board. Though most of them are likely to be the Ministers of State.
Modi is also likely to appoint a new, full time Defence Minister. Currently the Defence portfolio is held by Arun Jaitley, who is also holding Finance portfolio. According to reports, MM Joshi is hoping to be included in some capacity in the Cabinet, either as Lok Sabha Speaker or the Defence Minister.
There has been a demand for greater participation of the BJP MPs in the government. Some key allies like Shiv Sena and TDP may also get more berths in the Cabinet. The Shiv Sena has been demanding that it should get more berths.