‘Arvind Sawant will join Narendra Modi’s new cabinet’: Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut
Arvind Sawant is Shiv Sena’s pick for minister post in PM Modi’s government.Updated: May 30, 2019 12:16 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant will be sworn in as a minister in Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi’s new cabinet, senior party leaders confirmed on Thursday, as the BJP’s leaders met in New Delhi to finalise the names of other members.
Prime Minister-elect Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are in a meeting since morning amid speculation about the likely composition of the new cabinet keeping in mind its allies, who helped it win a massive mandate in the Lok Sabha election.
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The Shiv Sena, despite winning 18 of the 23 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, is expected to get only one ministerial berth even though it had sought at least three.
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In the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, Sena too had only one minister in the ministry for heavy industries and public sector enterprises — Anant Geete — who lost the election to the Nationalist Congress Party’s Sunil Tatkare from Raigad. This time, the Sena wants a plum portfolio with a more public profile.
“Uddhav ji has chosen Arvind Sawant. He will take oath today,” Sena leader and its Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said.
Sawant retained his seat by defeating Congress’ Milind Deora in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai South constituency. The 68-year-old won with a margin of 1,00,067 votes against the Congress party’s Mumbai chief.
Sawant, who is a deputy leader in the party’s hierarchy, joined the Sena in his early years. He worked as an engineer with Mahanagar Telephone Network Ltd (MTNL) till 1995. He took voluntary retirement after he was nominated to the Maharashtra Legislative Council when the Sena-BJP government came to power in 1995.
Sawant was chosen as the best parliamentarian in the 16th Lok Sabha. The MP has also said he had 98.5% attendance in the last Lok Sabha and had participated in 287 debates.
Ahead of the oath-taking ceremony on Thursday evening, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah met for three hours on Wednesday after four hours of discussions the previous day on the allocation of cabinet positions.
Shah also met Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal(United) with 16 seats, is the third largest partner in the NDA. The JD(U) was not part of the previous government but is expected to get portfolios in this cabinet.
The new council of ministers is expected to retain most veterans and speculation is also rife about Shah possibly moving to North Block if Modi decides to induct him in the government.
First Published: May 30, 2019 10:32 IST