JD(U) in Modi cabinet was media-created noise: Nitish Kumar

Kumar has advised the media to first check with him before running any news.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2017 18:37 IST
Janata Dal (United),JD(U),Nitish Kumar
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference in Patna on Monday. (PTI)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday scotched speculation about the non-inclusion of his ruling Janata Dal(U) in the just-revamped Union council of ministers, saying no discussions had been held in the first place over such an induction.

“We had learnt about the move to give representation to the JD(U) in the Union council of ministers through the media. There was no such talk of joining the ministry,” Kumar said a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in nine new faces into the cabinet, but failed to accommodate the JD(U). The non-representation of JD(U) has been a subject of animated discussion in political circles because it was widely expected that Kumar’s party will find berths in the Union cabinet to cement his ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Kumar dumped Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal as a coalition partner and stitched a new alliance with the BJP to form a new government in Bihar in July. While it was widely expected that senior JD(U) leader RCP Singh will get a ministerial berth, state BJP sources fuelled the speculation by saying that Kumar’s party had been offered a cabinet and a minister of state berth.

JD((U) leaders are currently working overtime to dispel rumours that the party’s claims have been overlooked by Prime Minister Modi. “It was the BJP’s internal reshuffle and not that of the National Democratic Alliance,” insisted JD(U) national spokesman KC Tyagi, referring to the NDA alliance led by the BJP.

Another JD(U) leader sought to give the non-inclusion a different spin, saying it signalled that Kumar was not willing to surrender his independence, despite allying with the BJP.

JD(U) leaders ruled out any bitterness over the non-inclusion, saying the party would be accommodated at a later date. “The BJP will have to take into account the aspirations of all its allies,” said a leader.

Some party leaders admitted that the BJP would weigh in the pros and cons before inducting the JD(U) in the central ministry. “The BJP will not like to place one ally over another. JD(U) may get a berth in the Union cabinet, but it will not be at the cost of other allies,” pointed out a leader, referring to the Shiv Sena that has nine MPs and is seeking one more ministerial berth.

The JD(U) on the contrary has two MPs in the Lok Sabha and seven in the Rajya Sabha. There has been speculation that the Prime Minister balked at including JD(U) in his ministry so as not to annoy the Shiv Sena whose demand for an extra berth could not be accommodated.

First Published: Sep 04, 2017 17:37 IST