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Home / India News / JD(U) may get three berths in Union cabinet

JD(U) may get three berths in Union cabinet

JD(U) supported the BJP on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2020 08:11 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal United JD(U) National President Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal United JD(U) National President Nitish Kumar (PTI Photo)

The Janata Dal (United), an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party which opted to sit out when the union cabinet was being formed in mid-2019, soon after the elections, has finally started discussing the issue with its partner, leaders of both parties said on condition of anonymity. If all goes well, the JD(U) may have three portfolios -- all ministers of state, but one with independent charge -- these leaders added.

The JD(U) supported the BJP on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. It subsequently said it would not allow the compilation of a National Register of Citizens in Bihar, but the Union government subsequently clarified that a national-NRC isn’t on the books.

A senior JD(U) leader said a broad consensus has now been reached on the party joining the cabinet. The JD(U) won 17 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, but was apparently annoyed by the BJP’s offer of one ministerial berth. The relationship cooled for a few months after that with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expanding the state cabinet without giving representation to the BJP. However, in the past month, there has been a thaw.

NDA leaders claim the JD(U)’s support to the BJP on CAA in the Rajya Sabha was significant as it helped the ruling party to pass the bill .

This person added that if the JD(U) joins the union ministry, it will also send across the message that ties between the two allies in Bihar are strong -- an important message to send out ahead of crucial assembly polls in 2020.

A senior BJP functionary said the details of how many JD(U) members will be inducted has not been finalised, adding that this could happen when the Union cabinet is expanded. On record, however, the JD(U) insisted that there is no such plan. The party’s chief general secretary K C Tyagi described the possibilities of JD(U) joining the union ministry as “mere speculation”. “ There has been no discussion on the subject within the party,” he said.

D M Diwakar, social scientist and political watcher, feels the RJD has less to worry on account of AIMIM’s inroads in Seemanchal and efforts to mobilise minorities by protesting against CAA. “The Muslim minorities feel the RJD is the only force which could safeguard their interests in Bihar as it has support base among backward and weaker sections. I feel Tejashwi and Rjd leaders are foucussing on Seemanchal to raise it’s pitch against CAA to consolidate it’s grip among muslims, “ Diwakar said.