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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Modi silent on cabinet; to stake claim to form govt today

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 19, 2014
First Published: 13:11 IST(19/5/2014) | Last Updated: 11:05 IST(20/5/2014)

In the first sign of a thaw in their chilly relationship, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Monday drove down to Gujarat Bhawan for her first one-on-one meeting with PM-designate Narendra Modi after the BJP received an overwhelming mandate last Friday.

Modi, who will be formally elected  leader on Tuesday, will meet President Pranab Mukherjee soon after to stake claim. The 63-year-old prime minister-to-be will meet the President in the company of NDA leaders after his election. Modi is likely to be sworn in by the weekend.

Meanwhile, Swaraj reportedly conveyed her readiness to work in a “respectable position” in his team. She is tipped to be one of the four top ministers of the next government.

The PM-designate, however, has kept his cards close to his chest. “He is hearing everyone out and will make his mind known at the right time,” a BJP leader considered close to Modi said.

But Swaraj was not the only one to drop by at Gujarat Bhavan. Party leaders, NDA allies, bureaucrats and others also made a beeline to Modi’s address in the Capital to congratulate him, pledge their support or just sound him out.

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, whose party is an arch-rival of NDA ally TDP in Seemandhara, also called on Modi and BJP president Rajnath Singh to pledge his party’s support to the next government.

Late evening, there was speculation that Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy could also drop by, according to one account to ensure that the Modi regime protects West Bengal’s interests.

Modi held a meeting with senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah in the morning after which Jaitley drove to RSS headquarters here.

Newly-elected BJP MPs, including former home secretary who won from Bihar’s Ara constituency RK Singh, Delhi MPs Udit Raj, Manoj Tiwari and senior UP leader Vinay Katiyar also met senior RSS functionaries at Sangh’s Delhi headquarters in Keshavpuram.

The RSS — which has spoken in favour of giving opportunities to younger leaders over older — has made some suggestions in context of the government formation to the BJP leadership.

A flurry of meetings also took place at Rajnath Singh’s Ashok Road residence with Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, Gopinath Munde, Yogi Adityanath, Varun Gandhi and several newly-elected MPs calling on the BJP president.

The party has not been able to take a call on the role that two veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi would play.


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