Modi 3.0 Cabinet: PM-elect meets likely candidates for berths in new NDA ministry

Narendra Modi pays tribute at National War Memorial
PM-elect Narendra Modi pays tribute at the National War Memorial in Delhi. Photo courtesy: X/@BJP4India

Indian Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi today met several leaders who are likely to find a place in the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Cabinet; the swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for this evening.

BJP leaders Manohar Lal Khattar, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Bandi Sanjay Kumar, and Ravneet Singh Bittu may be among the new faces in the Union Council of Ministers.

Senior BJP leaders like Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Nirmala Sitharaman, and Mansukh Mandaviya are being seen as a certainty in the new government, sources said.

Shiv Sena’s Prataprao Jadhav; BJP’s CR Paatil, who is president of its Gujarat unit; Jyotiraditya Scindia; Rao Inderjit Singh; Nityanand Rai; Bhagirath Choudhary; and Harsh Malhotra may also be inducted as ministers, sources said.

Most of these leaders met Modi over tea, a custom he has followed before the Cabinet formation exercise since 2014.

BJP MPs Jitin Prasada from Uttar Pradesh and Raksha Khadse from Maharashtra are also tipped to be part of the new government. Khadse confirmed to the media that she has received a call to be part of the government.

A source said Sitharaman, the outgoing finance minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, and Kiren Rijiju, both outgoing ministers as well, will also be taking oath.

There is speculation within the BJP that its national president JP Nadda, whose extended tenure will end by this month end and who was among the leaders meeting Modi, may also be brought back in the government.

Nadda was a member of the first Modi government before being relieved and taking over the charge of the party’s organisation in 2019.

Allies like TDP’s Ram Mohan Naidu and Chandra Sekhar Pemmasani and JD(U)’s Lalan Singh and Ram Nath Thakur, besides Chirag Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi, HD Kumaraswamy, and Jayant Chaudhary are being considered as ministers.

Narendra Modi with Chirag Paswan
PM-elect Narendra Modi with Chirag Paswan, one of the NDA ministerial probables. Photo courtesy: X/@SonuGup90911518

Bittu, the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, had lost the Lok Sabha election but may be inducted due to his profile as the BJP continues its bid to deepen its footprint in Punjab.

Bandi Sanjay Kumar and G Kishan Reddy, both elected from Telangana, were seen leaving together for Modi’s residence and sources close to them said they may be inducted as ministers.

However, there has been no official comment on likely ministers.

While taking its ministerial picks, the BJP will have to factor in its shock losses in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra to recover its ground in these key states.