6 Jun 2024

Modi 3.0 Government: NDA allies may negotiate for prominent positions, will BJP have to give up key ministries and roles

Modi 3.0 Government: Following the Lok Sabha election-2024 results that left the BJP without a clear majority, NDA allies have initiated discussions for significant positions in the central government. Despite this, sources indicate that the BJP is hesitant to give up crucial ministries and roles. 

As the largest single party, the BJP lacks a majority, prompting NDA allies to quickly come to an agreement. Preparations are in progress for the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi for his third term as Prime Minister this weekend.

The BJP relies on the crucial support of four key allies to attain a majority: N Chandrababu Naidu's TDP (16 seats), Nitish Kumar's JDU (12 seats), Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena (7 seats), and Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas (5 seats). 

Both Naidu and Nittish are seeking prominent positions

Experienced in coalition politics, both Naidu and Nittish Kumar are seeking prominent positions in the central government in exchange for their support.

Reports suggest that the TDP has expressed interest in the Lok Sabha Speaker's position, whereas the JDU might propose a Common Minimum Programme for the NDA government, advocating for Nitish Kumar to head a coordination committee for its execution. 

Nevertheless, the BJP seems hesitant to yield the Speaker's role. It may consider offering the Deputy Speaker position to the TDP\. It's worth noting that the JDU currently holds the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.

BJP keen to retain control over 4 key ministries

A notable shift from previous Modi governments is expected. With absolute majorities in 2014 and 2019, the BJP gave allies only symbolic representation. This time, ministerial positions may be allocated proportionately based on seats won by each ally. 

However, the BJP is keen to retain control over the four key ministries within the Cabinet Committee on Security: Defence, Finance, Home Affairs, and External Affairs. Additionally, they aim to keep portfolios crucial to infrastructure development and their welfare agenda, including road transport and highways.

Infrastructure has been a hallmark of Modi administration

Infrastructure, particularly road and highway construction under Nitin Gadkari, has been a hallmark of the Modi administration, receiving widespread acclaim. The BJP is intent on maintaining this momentum by retaining control of these ministries.

Railways portfolio is another area of contention

The Railways portfolio is another area of contention. While the JDU is interested in this ministry, having been led by Nitish Kumar in the past, BJP insiders argue that ongoing key reforms necessitate continuity, which could be disrupted by handing it over to an ally.

BJP may need to make more significant concessions

In previous Modi administrations, allies were given lower-profile portfolios such as Food Processing and Heavy Industries. This time, however, the BJP may need to make more significant concessions. Sources suggest the JDU could receive portfolios like Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, while the TDP might be allocated Civil Aviation and Steel. 

The BJP may also accommodate allies with Minister of State roles in high-profile ministries like Finance and Defence. Other potential portfolios for allies include Tourism, Skill Development, Science and Technology, and Earth Sciences.

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