Talking to reporters ahead of tomorrow’s much-awaited reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers, Kumar said, “There was no such talk of JD(U) joining the Union Cabinet. No talks were held on the issue (between the BJP and JD-U).”
Sources in the JD(U) had earlier confirmed that they were still not informed about their participation in the government.
“Our MPs are in Delhi. There was never any issue in the party over participating in the government but there has been no communication to us even though the reshuffle is tomorrow,” a senior JD(U) leader said.
A cloud of uncertainty also hangs over the participation of the Shiv Sena and AIADMK.
A rebellion led by party leader TTV Dhinakaran could prove to be a stumbling block in AIADMK joining the government as it works to defuse the crisis.
Meanwhile, NDA partner Shiv Sena also said it had not received any communication from the BJP over the inclusion of its members in the Union Cabinet expansion.
Party chief Uddhav Thackeray told reporters, “I have got news about the Cabinet expansion only from media. I have not enquired about it (from the central BJP leadership). I have neither received any communication from anybody nor are we hungry for power.”
More than half-a-dozen ministers are expected to make way for several new faces in the reshuffle, being seen as a balancing act between Modi’s avowed thrust on merit and demands of realpolitik.
“A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 10am on Sunday,” a top government official had said on Friday.
Union ministers — Kalraj Mishra, Bandaru Dattatreya, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey — had resigned on Friday ahead of the rejig.
Uma Bharati too had offered to resign but her fate remains in a balance amid speculations that there may be a few more exits.
Bharati, who is the water resources minister, had said only Amit Shah or anyone on his behalf can speak on the issue.
“The media sought my reaction on reports in circulation since yesterday. I have said that I have not heard the question, will not hear nor will I answer it,” she tweeted.
Shah had met Modi on Friday and the two leaders are understood to have finalised the changes in the council of ministers.
The current strength of the council of ministers, including the Prime Minister, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers cannot go beyond 81.
According to a constitutional amendment, the limit cannot exceed beyond 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha which is 545.
While there are some vacancies, a number of senior ministers are also holding dual portfolios.
Besides Jaitley, Harsh Vardhan, Smriti Irani and Narendra Singh Tomar are handling additional charges.
After assuming office in May 2014, Modi expanded his council of ministers twice — first on November 9, 2014 and then on July 5, 2016.
Source : timesofindia