Hours before new ministers are slated to be sworn in on Sunday morning, key constituents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National
Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Shiv Sena
and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) claimed they had no information about the expansion and reshuffle of the union council of ministers.
BJP sources said Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti
was asked to quit, but she stood up to BJP President Amit Shah
and would continue in Cabinet, even though her portfolio might be changed. On Friday, after the news trickled out that she has been asked to quit, Bharti confronted the top party leadership and reminded them that she wielded influence not just in Madhya Pradesh but also in Uttar Pradesh.
said in Patna that he had no information about the imminent Cabinet expansion. BJP sources have been claiming that JD (U), which recently returned to the NDA
fold, has been offered a cabinet and a minister of state berth. There were talks of JD (U) leader and Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh becoming a cabinet minister.
JD (U) national
spokesperson KC Tyagi confirmed that his party would not be part of Sunday's expansion. While he refused to elaborate, another JD (U) leader said that the decision has much to do with internal party mechanics and is also a message to the public that Kumar might have allied with the BJP under duress, but he will not surrender his independence.
By not allowing Singh, a former bureaucrat, to join the Cabinet at this juncture, the Bihar CM has also muted the disaffection the decision could have caused among several senior party leaders who had supported him in his decision to quit the Grand Alliance in Bihar.
chief Uddhav Thackeray also expressed his ignorance about the cabinet reshuffle, while All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is unlikely to join.
At the time of filing of this report, no list of those likely to be inducted into the council of ministers had been announced. Sources said Andhra Pradesh BJP state unit chief and Lok Sabha member from Vishakhapatanam, K Hari Babu, could join the Cabinet.
Among others who could be inducted are Bhupendra Yadav, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prahlad Patel, Suresh Angadi and Satyapal Singh.
Some ministers of state with independent charge could be promoted and those currently handling more than one portfolio could be relieved of their extra workload.