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JD(U) meeting to okay NDA return; its leaders in line to join union cabinet

Also, on Saturday, the rival JD (U) group headed by Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav, is scheduled to hold a ‘parallel’ meeting of his supporters in Patna.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2017 21:25 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
JD (U) executive,Patna meet,Party in NDA
PM Narendra Modi may include a couple of MPs from JD (U) chief Nitish Kumar’s party in his ministry. (PTI file photo)

The JD (U) led by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, holding its national executive committee meeting here on Saturday, is all set to endorse a proposal for the party to join the BJP-led NDA government at the centre. As such, there is speculation that a few top party leaders will soon be included in the union cabinet.

If sources are to be believed, the party’s newly appointed leader in the Rajya Sabha Ramchandra Prasad Singh, better known as RCP in political circles, a close confidant of CM Kumar, is likely to get an important portfolio in the union cabinet.

There is speculations that Singh may be given the railways portfolio in place of Suresh Prabhu, who may be moved to another ministry, possibly defence.

The defence ministry is under the charge of finance minister Arun Jaitley since March this year, when the then defence minister Manohar Parikkar moved out of union cabinet to join as Goa CM.

Another JD (U) ministerial hopeful is said to be Ram Nath Thakur, also a Rajya Sabha MP, who may get the welfare ministry.

“The JD(U) national executive will discuss the proposal for joining the NDA at the centre at its Saturday’s meeting. After that, all decisions about joining the ministry will be taken by the party’s top leaders including CM Nitish Kumar,” said a senior party MP, wishing not to be quoted.

Though there is no official confirmation about the JD (U) top leaders getting ministerial berths, sources said the possibility was high given that CM Kumar had allotted key ministries to BJP leaders in Bihar, after JD (U) and BJP joined hands to form a new government late last month.

There is also speculation that few BJP central ministers from Bihar may be replaced by new faces in the union cabinet. The names doing the rounds as possible inclusions are those of Om Prakash Yadav, MP from Siwan and Janardan Singh Sigriwal, MP from Maharajganj.

Insiders in the JD(U) claim the cabinet reshuffle may take place soon after the JD (U) formalises it’s decision to join the union government. On Saturday, the rival faction of JD (U), led by Sharad Yadav, is also holding a meeting in Patna.

When reached for comment likelihood of the JD (U) joining the ministry, party senior leader K C Tyagi said he was busy in a meeting. “Tomorrow’s meeting will pass a proposal for the JD (U) to join the NDA,” he said.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 21:25 IST