New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) A small and compact cabinet under Narendra Modi appeared to be taking final shape Sunday, with BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, and Sushma Swaraj likely to get the top posts, according to party sources.
The cabinet is expected to be compact, said party sources. Restructuring is expected in the government and some ministries are likely to be merged.
BJP president Rajnath Singh appears set to be the next home minister, but internal security may be taken away from the home ministry and kept with the prime minister’s office.
Talks are on over Rajnath Singh’s replacement in the party, with general secretary and former Himachal Pradesh minister J.P. Nadda among the contenders for the post.
While Arun Jaitley is likely to get finance ministry, Sushma Swaraj may get external affairs or defence ministry.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Najma Heptulla, Sumitra Mahajan and Ananth Kumar are also likely to find place in the cabinet, as are representatives from allies Shiv Sena, and Telugu Desam Party, whose chief N. Chandrababu Naidu also met Modi Sunday.
However, coming out of the meeting, Naidu said that a ministerial post is not important.
“I did not ask for any representation,” he said.
“We are an ally of the NDA, power is not important, national development is important. Both in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana there are problems. Under his (Modi’s) leadership, we want a solution to these problems,” Naidu told TV news channel CNN IBN.
However, TDP sources in Hyderabad said Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju is likely to be the lone face from the TDP to be inducted into the union cabinet Monday.
This was believed to have been decided at the meeting Naidu had with Modi.
Ally Shiv Sena, however, said it expected “proper” representation in the cabinet.
“Shiv Sena is expecting good positions in the central government. The BJP has assured us that would happen,” said senior Sena leader Subhash Desai.
“We are confident. We are not at all bothered or worried about Shiv Sena not getting a proper share,” Desai told TV news channel NDTV.
Sources said the Apna Dal, which won two seats in Uttar Pradesh, is also trying to find a place in the new cabinet.
Rajnath Singh, meanwhile, met several party leaders, including Maneka Gandhi, Udit Raj, and Vijay Goel as well as Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh leader Suresh Soni during the day.
MEANWHILE, 7 Race Course Road will get its newest occupant Monday night when Narendra Modi will shift to his new official residence barely hours after taking oath as India’s 14th prime minister.
Sources told IANS that Modi will move to the house after he attends a banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee Monday night at Rashtrapati Bhavan, located some three km away.
The dinner will begin soon after the swearing-in ceremony concludes at the presidential palace.
Outgoing prime minister Manmohan Singh, who has been occupying 7 Race Course Road for the past decade as head of two successive governments, will move out of the house earlier Monday. He will shift to his new residence, at 3 Motilal Nehru Place, Monday afternoon, the sources added.
According to the sources, 7 Race Course Road houses five bungalows spread over about 12 acres.