In a political coup, the BJP Sunday morning inducted Suresh Prabhu, a Shiv Sena leader, into its party and hours later, made him a cabinet minister. But Prabhu was not the only ‘prized catch’ of the BJP—former Congress heavyweight Chaudhary Birender Singh and ex-RJD MP Ram Kripal Yadav too, became ministers.
The move comes amid Sena’s boycott of the oath-taking ceremony. Its nominee Anil Desai skipped the function.
Although Prabhu was no longer an active member of the party, following his exit from the Vajpayee cabinet under Sena pressure, Sunday’s developments are expected to take a further toll on the fragile Sena-BJP ties.
Days before his induction, Prabhu, a former power and environment minister, was appointed as the Sherpa of Modi for the upcoming G20 summit. Political observers also point out that Prabhu was one of the first leaders who refused to go to the US, in protest against American refusal to give visa to Modi.
“The entry of these ministers proves that the party would also welcome leaders who have changed their outlook about the BJP,” said a senior minister.
While Ram Kripal Yadav’s inclusion is aimed to send a message to Yadav voters, Lalu Prasad’s pet vote bank, ahead of the next assembly election in Bihar. Yadav had contested against Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti at Patliputra after the RJD chief refused to give him the ticket from that constituency. Singh, a Congress Working Committee member had quit the party months before the assembly elections in Haryana.